THE depiction of the natural condition of mankind by Thomas Hobbes (Hobbes 1968) has long been a source of fascination to students of political theory. In the past two decades, the concepts and categories of rational choice theory have been increasingly employed as one means of interpreting, illuminating, and understanding Hobbes’ teaching (Hampton 1986; Brams 1985:, 139–46; Kavka 1983; Laver 1981: 17–18, 43–47; McLean 1981: 339–51; Taylor 1976; Gauthier 1969). The issue I propose to explore herein is that of determining the extent to which this approach does indeed succeed in bringing clearly into focus the essence of that teaching. I shall suggest that though not without value, the appropriation of Hobbes’ teaching to the terms of rational choice theory reaps a good deal less than Hobbes attempted to sow.