Skip to main content

Of Hobbes and Hospitality in Diderot's Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville

Abstract

The Enlightenment philosophe Diderot's Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville offers rich possibilities for theorizing relations among nations and encounters among mutually foreign peoples. In the Supplement and related texts, Diderot takes hospitality as the paradigmatic standard for all human sociability. Consequently, he uses practices of hospitality as the standpoint from which to criticize French colonization of inhabited land. Diderot presents “Hobbist” French colonial practices in the figure of the French explorer Bougainville, whose hospitable reception by native Tahitians did not prevent him from violating a host/guest relationship in claiming Tahiti for the French crown. Starting from Diderot's comparison of Bougainville to Hobbes, this essay puts Diderotian hospitality into relief through an extended contrast between it and Hobbesian anarchy.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Klausen, J. Of Hobbes and Hospitality in Diderot's Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville. Polity 37, 167–192 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.polity.2300013

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.polity.2300013

Keywords

  • Hobbes, Thomas
  • Diderot, Denis
  • imperialism
  • Enlightenment
  • hospitality