On the Sovereign Authorization

Clifford Orwin, "On the Sovereign Authorization," Political Theory, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb. 1975).


HOBBES IS, as others have shown, the founder of the modern notion of representation. He does not, however, speak exclusively of “representation,” and “personation” and “standing-for,” but of “authorization.” Authorization, unlike representation, is peculiar to Hobbes. It occurs in the Leviathan only, and there he presents it not as representation pure and simple but as one kind of representation-the kind however of which he makes exclusive use in elaborating his doctrine of political representation. Since authorization occurs in the Leviathan only, commentators have tried to show how the authorization version of Hobbes’ theory improves upon those he has published earlier. This has not proved easy.