Thomas Hobbes

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Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes (portrait).jpg
Born(1588-04-05)5 April 1588
Died4 December 1679(1679-12-04) (aged 91)
Alma mater Magdalen Hall, Oxford
Era 17th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Social contract, classical realism, empiricism, determinism, nominalism, [1] materialism, [1] corpuscularianism, [2] ethical egoism
Main interests
Political philosophy, history, ethics, geometry

Thomas Hobbes ( /hɒbz/ ; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, [4] was an English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. [5] [6] Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan , which expounded an influential formulation of social contract theory. [7] In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields, including history, jurisprudence, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general philosophy.

English people Nation and ethnic group native to England

The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn. Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.

Political philosophy sub-discipline of philosophy and political science

Political philosophy, also known as political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority: what they are, if they are needed and why, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.

<i>Leviathan</i> (Hobbes book) book by Thomas Hobbes

Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil—commonly referred to as Leviathan—is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan. The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory. Leviathan ranks as a classic Western work on statecraft comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince. Written during the English Civil War (1642–1651), Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute situation of a state of nature could only be avoided by strong, undivided government.


Early life and education

Thomas Hobbes was born at Westport, now part of Malmesbury in Wiltshire, England, on 5 April 1588. [8] Born prematurely when his mother heard of the coming invasion of the Spanish Armada, Hobbes later reported that "my mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear." [9] His childhood is almost completely unknown, and his mother's name is unknown. [10] His father, Thomas Sr., was the vicar of Charlton and Westport. Thomas Hobbes, the younger, had a brother Edmund, about two years older, and a sister. Thomas Sr. was involved in a fight with the local clergy outside his church, forcing him to leave London and abandon the family. The family was left in the care of Thomas Sr.'s older brother, Francis, a wealthy merchant with no family. Hobbes Jr. was educated at Westport church from age four, passed to the Malmesbury school, and then to a private school kept by a young man named Robert Latimer, a graduate of the University of Oxford. Hobbes was a good pupil, and around 1603 he went up to Magdalen Hall, the predecessor college to Hertford College, Oxford. [11] [12] [13] The principal John Wilkinson was a Puritan, and he had some influence on Hobbes.

Westport, Wiltshire former village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England

Westport, sometimes called Westport St. Mary, was a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, immediately west of the town of Malmesbury. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born in Westport in 1588; his father, also Thomas Hobbes, lived at Westport while serving as curate of Brokenborough.

Malmesbury town in Wiltshire, England

Malmesbury is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. As a market town it became prominent in the Middle Ages as a centre for learning focused on and around Malmesbury Abbey, the bulk of which forms a rare survival of the dissolution of the monasteries. Once the site of an Iron Age fort, in the Anglo-Saxon period it became the site of a monastery famed for its learning and one of Alfred the Great's fortified burhs for defence against the Vikings. Æthelstan, the first king of England, was buried in Malmesbury Abbey when he died in 939.

Spanish Armada Fleet of Spanish ships, intended to attack England in 1588

The Spanish Armada was a Habsburg Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruña in late May 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.

At university, Hobbes appears to have followed his own curriculum; he was "little attracted by the scholastic learning" and completed his B.A. degree in 1608. He was recommended by Sir James Hussey, his master at Magdalen, as tutor to William, the son of William Cavendish, Baron of Hardwick (and later Earl of Devonshire), and began a lifelong connection with that family. [14]

William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire Earl of Devonshire

William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire MP was an English nobleman, courtier, and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1614 until 1626 when he succeeded to the peerage and sat in the House of Lords.

William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire English politician and Earl

William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire MP was an English nobleman, politician, and courtier.

Duke of Devonshire title in the Peerage of England

Duke of Devonshire is a title in the Peerage of England held by members of the Cavendish family. This branch of the Cavendish family has been one of the wealthiest British aristocratic families since the 16th century and has been rivalled in political influence perhaps only by the Marquesses of Salisbury and the Earls of Derby.

Hobbes became a companion to the younger William and in 1610 they both took part in a grand tour of Europe. Hobbes was exposed to European scientific and critical methods during the tour, in contrast to the scholastic philosophy that he had learned in Oxford. His scholarly efforts at the time were aimed at a careful study of classic Greek and Latin authors. One outcome was, in 1628, his translation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War , the first translation of that work into English from the original Greek. It has been argued that three of the discourses in the 1620 publication known as Horea Subsecivae: Observations and Discourses also represent the work of Hobbes from this period. [15]

Grand Tour Journey around Europe for cultural education

The term "Grand Tour" refers to the 17th- and 18th-century custom of a traditional trip of Europe undertaken by upper-class young European men of sufficient means and rank when they had come of age. Young women of equally sufficient means ("debutantes"), or those of either gender of a more humble origin who could find a sponsor, could also partake. The custom—which flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transport in the 1840s and was associated with a standard itinerary—served as an educational rite of passage. Though the Grand Tour was primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of other Protestant Northern European nations, and, from the second half of the 18th century, by some South and North Americans. By the mid 18th century, the Grand Tour had become a regular feature of aristocratic education in Central Europe, as well, although it was restricted to the higher nobility. The tradition declined as enthusiasm for neo-classical culture waned, and with the advent of accessible rail and steamship travel—an era in which Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" of early mass tourism a byword.

Thucydides Greek historian and Athenian general

Thucydides was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work.

<i>History of the Peloponnesian War</i> historical account of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

The History of the Peloponnesian War is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War, which was fought between the Peloponnesian League and the Delian League. It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian historian who also happened to serve as an Athenian general during the war. His account of the conflict is widely considered to be a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History is divided into eight books.

Although he associated with literary figures like Ben Jonson and briefly worked as Francis Bacon's amanuensis, he did not extend his efforts into philosophy until after 1629. In June 1628, his employer Cavendish, then the Earl of Devonshire, died of the plague and the widowed countess dismissed Hobbes.[ citation needed ]

Ben Jonson 16th/17th-century English playwright, poet, and actor

Benjamin Jonson was an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours. He is best known for the satirical plays Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone, or The Fox, The Alchemist (1610) and Bartholomew Fair (1614) and for his lyric and epigrammatic poetry; he is generally regarded as the second most important English playwright during the reign of James VI and I after William Shakespeare.

Amanuensis person employed to write or type what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another

An amanuensis is a person employed to write or type what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another, and also refers to a person who signs a document on behalf of another under the latter's authority.

Bubonic plague Human and animal disease

Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis. One to seven days after exposure to the bacteria, flu-like symptoms develop. These symptoms include fever, headaches, and vomiting. Swollen and painful lymph nodes occur in the area closest to where the bacteria entered the skin. Occasionally, the swollen lymph nodes may break open.

In Paris (1630-1637)

Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes.jpeg
Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes soon found work as a tutor to Gervase Clifton, the son of Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet mostly spent in Paris until 1631. Thereafter, he again found work with the Cavendish family, tutoring William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire, the eldest son of his previous pupil. Over the next seven years, as well as tutoring, he expanded his own knowledge of philosophy, awakening in him curiosity over key philosophic debates. He visited Florence in 1636 and was later a regular debater in philosophic groups in Paris, held together by Marin Mersenne.[ citation needed ]

Sir Gervase Clifton, 2nd Baronet English noble

Sir Gervase Clifton (1612–1675) was 2nd Baronet Clifton of Clifton, Nottinghamshire.

Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet English politician

Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet, K.B. was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1614 and 1666. He supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge.

William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire English noble

William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire KB FRS was an English nobleman and politician, known as a royalist supporter.

Hobbes's first area of study was an interest in the physical doctrine of motion and physical momentum. Despite his interest in this phenomenon, he disdained experimental work as in physics. He went on to conceive the system of thought to the elaboration of which he would devote his life. His scheme was first to work out, in a separate treatise, a systematic doctrine of body, showing how physical phenomena were universally explicable in terms of motion, at least as motion or mechanical action was then understood. He then singled out Man from the realm of Nature and plants. Then, in another treatise, he showed what specific bodily motions were involved in the production of the peculiar phenomena of sensation, knowledge, affections and passions whereby Man came into relation with Man. Finally, he considered, in his crowning treatise, how Men were moved to enter into society, and argued how this must be regulated if Men were not to fall back into "brutishness and misery". Thus he proposed to unite the separate phenomena of Body, Man, and the State.[ citation needed ]

In England

Hobbes came home, in 1637, to a country riven with discontent, which disrupted him from the orderly execution of his philosophic plan. However, by the end of the Short Parliament in 1640, he had written a short treatise called The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic. It was not published and only circulated as a manuscript among his acquaintances. A pirated version, however, was published about ten years later. Although it seems that much of The Elements of Law was composed before the sitting of the Short Parliament, there are polemical pieces of the work that clearly mark the influences of the rising political crisis. Nevertheless, many (though not all) elements of Hobbes's political thought were unchanged between The Elements of Law and Leviathan, which demonstrates that the events of the English Civil War had little effect on his contractarian methodology. However, the arguments in Leviathan were modified from The Elements of Law when it came to the necessity of consent in creating political obligation. Namely, Hobbes wrote in The Elements of Law that Patrimonial kingdoms were not necessarily formed by the consent of the governed, while in Leviathan he argued that they were. This was perhaps a reflection either of Hobbes's thoughts about the engagement controversy or of his reaction to treatises published by Patriarchalists, such as Sir Robert Filmer, between 1640 and 1651.[ citation needed ]

When in November 1640 the Long Parliament succeeded the Short, Hobbes felt that he was in disfavour due to the circulation of his treatise and fled to Paris. He did not return for 11 years. In Paris, he rejoined the coterie around Mersenne and wrote a critique of the Meditations on First Philosophy of Descartes, which was printed as third among the sets of "Objections" appended, with "Replies" from Descartes, in 1641. A different set of remarks on other works by Descartes succeeded only in ending all correspondence between the two.

Hobbes also extended his own works in a way, working on the third section, De Cive , which was finished in November 1641. Although it was initially only circulated privately, it was well received, and included lines of argumentation that were repeated a decade later in Leviathan. He then returned to hard work on the first two sections of his work and published little except a short treatise on optics (Tractatus opticus) included in the collection of scientific tracts published by Mersenne as Cogitata physico-mathematica in 1644. He built a good reputation in philosophic circles and in 1645 was chosen with Descartes, Gilles de Roberval and others to referee the controversy between John Pell and Longomontanus over the problem of squaring the circle.

Civil war period (1642–1651)

The English Civil War began in 1642, [16] and when the royalist cause began to decline in mid-1644, [17] the king's supporters fled to Europe. [18] Many came to Paris and were known to Hobbes.[ citation needed ] This revitalised Hobbes's political interests and the De Cive was republished and more widely distributed.[ citation needed ] The printing began in 1646 by Samuel de Sorbiere through the Elsevier press in Amsterdam with a new preface and some new notes in reply to objections.[ citation needed ]

In 1647, Hobbes took up a position as mathematical instructor to the young Charles, Prince of Wales, [19] who had come to Paris from Jersey around July. This engagement lasted until 1648 when Charles went to Holland.[ citation needed ]

Frontispiece from De Cive (1642) Hobbes de cive.jpg
Frontispiece from De Cive (1642)

The company of the exiled royalists led Hobbes to produce Leviathan, which set forth his theory of civil government in relation to the political crisis resulting from the war. Hobbes compared the State to a monster (leviathan) composed of men, created under pressure of human needs and dissolved by civil strife due to human passions. The work closed with a general "Review and Conclusion", in response to the war, which answered the question: Does a subject have the right to change allegiance when a former sovereign's power to protect is irrevocably lost?[ citation needed ]

During the years of composing Leviathan, Hobbes remained in or near Paris. In 1647, a serious illness that nearly killed him disabled him for six months.[ citation needed ] On recovering, he resumed his literary task and completed it by 1650.[ citation needed ] Meanwhile, a translation of De Cive was being produced; scholars disagree about whether it was Hobbes who translated it.[ citation needed ]

In 1650, a pirated edition of The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic was published. [20] It was divided into two small volumes (Human Nature, or the Fundamental Elements of Policie and De corpore politico, or the Elements of Law, Moral and Politick). [21]

In 1651, the translation of De Cive was published under the title Philosophicall Rudiments concerning Government and Society. Also, the printing of the greater work proceeded, and finally appeared in mid-1651, titled Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common Wealth, Ecclesiasticall and Civil.[ citation needed ] It had a famous title-page engraving depicting a crowned giant above the waist towering above hills overlooking a landscape, holding a sword and a crozier and made up of tiny human figures.[ citation needed ] The work had immediate impact.[ citation needed ] Soon, Hobbes was more lauded and decried than any other thinker of his time.[ citation needed ] The first effect of its publication was to sever his link with the exiled royalists, who might well have killed him.[ citation needed ] The secularist spirit of his book greatly angered both Anglicans and French Catholics.[ citation needed ] Hobbes appealed to the revolutionary English government for protection and fled back to London in winter 1651.[ citation needed ] After his submission to the Council of State, he was allowed to subside into private life in Fetter Lane.[ citation needed ]


Frontispiece of Leviathan Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.jpg
Frontispiece of Leviathan

In Leviathan, Hobbes set out his doctrine of the foundation of states and legitimate governments and creating an objective science of morality.[ citation needed ] Much of the book is occupied with demonstrating the necessity of a strong central authority to avoid the evil of discord and civil war.

Beginning from a mechanistic understanding of human beings and their passions, Hobbes postulates what life would be like without government, a condition which he calls the state of nature. In that state, each person would have a right, or license, to everything in the world. This, Hobbes argues, would lead to a "war of all against all" ( bellum omnium contra omnes ). The description contains what has been called one of the best-known passages in English philosophy, which describes the natural state humankind would be in, were it not for political community: [22]

In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. [23]

In such a state, people fear death and lack both the things necessary to commodious living, and the hope of being able to toil to obtain them. So, in order to avoid it, people accede to a social contract and establish a civil society. According to Hobbes, society is a population and a sovereign authority, to whom all individuals in that society cede some rights for the sake of protection. Any power exercised by this authority cannot be resisted, because the protector's sovereign power derives from individuals' surrendering their own sovereign power for protection. The individuals are thereby the authors of all decisions made by the sovereign. [24] "he that complaineth of injury from his sovereign complaineth that whereof he himself is the author, and therefore ought not to accuse any man but himself, no nor himself of injury because to do injury to one's self is impossible". There is no doctrine of separation of powers in Hobbes's discussion. [25] According to Hobbes, the sovereign must control civil, military, judicial and ecclesiastical powers, even the words. [26]


John Bramhall

In 1654 a small treatise, Of Liberty and Necessity, directed at Hobbes, was published by Bishop John Bramhall. [27] Bramhall, a strong Arminian, had met and debated with Hobbes and afterwards wrote down his views and sent them privately to be answered in this form by Hobbes. Hobbes duly replied, but not for publication. However, a French acquaintance took a copy of the reply and published it with "an extravagantly laudatory epistle". [28] Bramhall countered in 1655, when he printed everything that had passed between them (under the title of A Defence of the True Liberty of Human Actions from Antecedent or Extrinsic Necessity). In 1656, Hobbes was ready with The Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance, in which he replied "with astonishing force" [28] to the bishop. As perhaps the first clear exposition of the psychological doctrine of determinism, Hobbes's own two pieces were important in the history of the free-will controversy. The bishop returned to the charge in 1658 with Castigations of Mr Hobbes's Animadversions, and also included a bulky appendix entitled The Catching of Leviathan the Great Whale.

John Wallis

Hobbes opposed the existing academic arrangements, and assailed the system of the original universities in Leviathan. He went on to publish De Corpore , which contained not only tendentious views on mathematics but also an erroneous proof of the squaring of the circle. This all led mathematicians to target him for polemics and sparked John Wallis to become one of his most persistent opponents. From 1655, the publishing date of De Corpore, Hobbes and Wallis went round after round trying to disprove each other's positions. After years of debate, the spat over proving the squaring of the circle gained such notoriety that it has become one of the most infamous feuds in mathematical history.

Religious views

Hobbes was accused of atheism by several contemporaries; Bramhall accused him of teachings that could lead to atheism. This was an important accusation, and Hobbes himself wrote, in his answer to Bramhall's The Catching of Leviathan, that "atheism, impiety, and the like are words of the greatest defamation possible". [29] Hobbes always defended himself from such accusations. [30] In more recent times also, much has been made of his religious views by scholars such as Richard Tuck and J. G. A. Pocock, but there is still widespread disagreement about the exact significance of Hobbes's unusual views on religion.

As Martinich has pointed out, in Hobbes's time the term "atheist" was often applied to people who believed in God but not in divine providence, or to people who believed in God but also maintained other beliefs that were inconsistent with such belief. He says that this "sort of discrepancy has led to many errors in determining who was an atheist in the early modern period". [31] In this extended early modern sense of atheism, Hobbes did take positions that strongly disagreed with church teachings of his time. For example, he argued repeatedly that there are no incorporeal substances, and that all things, including human thoughts, and even God, heaven, and hell are corporeal, matter in motion. He argued that "though Scripture acknowledge spirits, yet doth it nowhere say, that they are incorporeal, meaning thereby without dimensions and quantity". [32] (In this view, Hobbes claimed to be following Tertullian) Like John Locke, he also stated that true revelation can never disagree with human reason and experience, [33] although he also argued that people should accept revelation and its interpretations for the reason that they should accept the commands of their sovereign, in order to avoid war.

Later life

In 1658, Hobbes published the final section of his philosophical system, completing the scheme he had planned more than 20 years before. De Homine consisted for the most part of an elaborate theory of vision. The remainder of the treatise dealt cursorily with some of the topics more fully treated in the Human Nature and the Leviathan. In addition to publishing some controversial writings on mathematics and physics, Hobbes also continued to produce philosophical works. From the time of the Restoration, he acquired a new prominence; "Hobbism" became a byword for all that respectable society ought to denounce. The young king, Hobbes' former pupil, now Charles II, remembered Hobbes and called him to the court to grant him a pension of £100.

The king was important in protecting Hobbes when, in 1666, the House of Commons introduced a bill against atheism and profaneness. That same year, on 17 October 1666, it was ordered that the committee to which the bill was referred "should be empowered to receive information touching such books as tend to atheism, blasphemy and profaneness... in particular... the book of Mr. Hobbes called the Leviathan". [34] Hobbes was terrified at the prospect of being labelled a heretic, and proceeded to burn some of his compromising papers. At the same time, he examined the actual state of the law of heresy. The results of his investigation were first announced in three short Dialogues added as an Appendix to his Latin translation of Leviathan, published in Amsterdam in 1668. In this appendix, Hobbes aimed to show that, since the High Court of Commission had been put down, there remained no court of heresy at all to which he was amenable, and that nothing could be heresy except opposing the Nicene Creed, which, he maintained, Leviathan did not do.

The only consequence that came of the bill was that Hobbes could never thereafter publish anything in England on subjects relating to human conduct. The 1668 edition of his works was printed in Amsterdam because he could not obtain the censor's licence for its publication in England. Other writings were not made public until after his death, including Behemoth: the History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England and of the Counsels and Artifices by which they were carried on from the year 1640 to the year 1662. For some time, Hobbes was not even allowed to respond, whatever his enemies tried. Despite this, his reputation abroad was formidable.

His final works were an autobiography in Latin verse in 1672, and a translation of four books of the Odyssey into "rugged" English rhymes that in 1673 led to a complete translation of both Iliad and Odyssey in 1675.


Tomb of Thomas Hobbes in St John the Baptist's Church, Ault Hucknall in Derbyshire Tomb of Thomas Hobbes - - 1592556.jpg
Tomb of Thomas Hobbes in St John the Baptist's Church, Ault Hucknall in Derbyshire

In October 1679 Hobbes suffered a bladder disorder, and then a paralytic stroke, from which he died on 4 December 1679, aged 91. [35] His last words were said to have been, "A great leap in the dark," uttered in his final conscious moments. [36] His body was interred in St John the Baptist's Church, Ault Hucknall, in Derbyshire. [37]

Works (Bibliography)

Posthumous works
Complete editions
  • Volume I. Elementorum Philosophiae I: De Corpore
  • Volume II. Elementorum Philosophiae II and III: De Homine and De Cive
  • Volume III. Latin version of Leviathan.
  • Volume IV. Various concerning mathematics, geometry and physics.
  • Volume V. Various short works.
  • TRIPOS ; in Three Discourses:
  • I. Human Nature, or the Fundamental Elements of Policy
  • II. De Corpore Politico, or the Elements of Law
  • III. Of Liberty and Necessity
  • An Answer to Bishop Bramhall's Book, called "The Catching of the Leviathan"
  • An Historical Narration concerning Heresy, and the Punishment thereof
  • Considerations upon the Reputation, Loyalty, Manners, and Religion of Thomas Hobbes
  • Answer to Sir William Davenant's Preface before "Gondibert"
  • Letter to the Right Honourable Edward Howard
  • Volume 5. The Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance, clearly stated and debated between Dr Bramhall Bishop of Derry and Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury.
  • Volume 6.
  • A Dialogue Between a Philosopher & a Student of the Common Laws of England
  • A Dialogue of the Common Law
  • Behemoth: the History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England, and of the Counsels and Artifices By Which They Were Carried On From the Year 1640 to the Year 1660
  • The Whole Art of Rhetoric (Hobbes's translation of his own Latin summary of Aristotle's Rhetoric published in 1637 with the title A Briefe of the Art of Rhetorique)
  • The Art of Rhetoric Plainly Set Forth. With Pertinent Examples For the More Easy Understanding and Practice of the Same (this work is not of Hobbes but by Dudley Fenner, The Artes of Logike and Rethorike, 1584)
  • The Art of Sophistry
  • Seven Philosophical Problems
  • Decameron Physiologicum
  • Proportion of a straight line to half the arc of a quadrant
  • Six lessons to the Savilian Professors of the Mathematics
  • ΣΤΙΓΜΑΙ, or Marks of the absurd Geometry etc. of Dr Wallis
  • Extract of a letter from Henry Stubbe
  • Three letters presented to the Royal Society against Dr Wallis
  • Considerations on the answer of Dr Wallis
  • Letters and other pieces
Posthumous works not included in the Molesworth editions
Translations in modern English
New critical editions of Hobbes' works (in progress)

See also

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<i>Scientia potentia est</i> Latin aphorism often claimed to mean organized "knowledge is power"

The phrase "scientia potentia est" is a Latin aphorism meaning "knowledge is power". It is commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, although there is no known occurrence of this precise phrase in Bacon's English or Latin writings. However, the expression "ipsa scientia potestas est" occurs in Bacon's Meditationes Sacrae (1597). The exact phrase "scientia potentia est" was written for the first time in the 1668 version of the work Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, who was secretary to Bacon as a young man.

<i>De Cive</i> book by Thomas Hobbes

De Cive is one of Thomas Hobbes's major works. "The book was published originally in Latin from Paris in 1642, followed by two further Latin editions in 1647 from Amsterdam. The English translation of the work made its first appearance four years later under the title 'Philosophicall rudiments concerning government and society'."

<i>Leviathan and the Air-Pump</i> book by Steven Shapin

Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life is a book by Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer. It examines the debate between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes over Boyle's air-pump experiments in the 1660s. In 2005, Shapin and Schaffer were awarded the Erasmus Prize for this work.

William Lucy clergyman, Bishop of St Davids

William Lucy (1594–1677) was an English clergyman. He was Bishop of St David's after the English Restoration of 1660.

Henry Parker (1604–1652) was an English barrister and political writer in the Parliamentarian cause.

De Corpore is a 1655 book by Thomas Hobbes. As its full Latin title Elementorum philosophiae sectio prima De corpore implies, it was part of a larger work, conceived as a trilogy. De Cive had already appeared, while De Homine would be published in 1658. Hobbes had in fact been drafting De Corpore for at least ten years before its appearance, putting it aside for other matters. This delay affected its reception: the approach taken seemed much less innovative than it would have done in the previous decade.

The Hobbes–Wallis controversy was a polemic debate that continued from the mid-1650s well into the 1670s, between the philosopher Thomas Hobbes and the mathematician John Wallis. It was sparked by De corpore, a philosophical work by Hobbes in the general area of physics. The book contained not only a theory of mathematics subordinating it to geometry and geometry to kinematics, but a claimed proof of the squaring of the circle by Hobbes. While Hobbes retracted this particular proof, he returned to the topic with other attempted proofs. A pamphleteering exchange continued for decades. It drew in the newly formed Royal Society, and its experimental philosophy, to which Hobbes was opposed.

Aloysius Patrick Martinich is an American analytic philosopher. He is the Roy Allison Vaughan Centennial Professor of Philosophy and Professor of History at University of Texas at Austin. His area of interest is the nature and practice of interpretation; history of modern philosophy; the philosophy of language and religion; the history of political thinking and Thomas Hobbes.

Sharon Lloyd is Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Political Science at the University of Southern California. She co-founded the USC Center for Law and Philosophy, and directs the USC Levan Institute’s Conversations in Practical Ethics Program. Lloyd’s work, especially on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, has been considered some of the most significant work published in recent years.

Luc Foisneau, born in Blois on the 30th March 1963, is a French philosopher specialising in contemporary political thought and that of the Early Modern period. Director of research at CNRS, he is a member of the Centre Raymond Aron, and teaches at School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.

Hobbess moral and political philosophy

Thomas Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy is constructed around the basic premise of social and political order, explaining how humans should live in peace under a sovereign power so as to avoid conflict within the ‘state of nature’. Hobbes’s moral philosophy and political philosophy are intertwined; his moral thought is based around ideas of human nature, which determine the interactions that make up his political philosophy. Hobbes’s moral philosophy therefore provides justification for, and informs, the theories of sovereignty and the state of nature that underpin his political philosophy.



  1. 1 2 Thomas Hobbes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  2. Kenneth Clatterbaugh, The Causation Debate in Modern Philosophy, 1637-1739, Routledge, 2014, p. 69.
  3. 1 2 Sorell, Tom (January 26, 1996). The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes. Cambridge University Press. p. 155. doi:10.1017/CCOL0521410193. ISBN   9780521422444.
  4. Hobbes, Thomas (1682). Tracts of Mr. Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury: Containing I. Behemoth, the history of the causes of the civil wars of England, from 1640. to 1660. printed from the author's own copy: never printed (but with a thousand faults) before. II. An answer to Arch-bishop Bramhall's book, called the Catching of the Leviathan: never printed before. III. An historical narration of heresie, and the punishment thereof: corrected by the true copy. IV. Philosophical problems, dedicated to the King in 1662. but never printed before. W. Crooke. p. 339.
  5. "Thomas Hobbes: Moral and Political Philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy . UTM. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  6. Sheldon, Dr. Garrett Ward (2003). The History of Political Theory: Ancient Greece to Modern America. Peter Lang. p. 253. ISBN   9780820423005.
  7. Lloyd, Sharon A.; Sreedhar, Susanne (February 12, 2012). "Hobbes's Moral and Political Philosophy". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  8. "Thomas Hobbes Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  9. Hobbes, Thomas (1679). "Opera Latina". In Molesworth, William. Vita carmine expressa. I. London. p. 86.
  10. Jacobson, Norman; Rogow, Arnold A. (1986). Thomas Hobbes: Radical in the Service of Reaction. Political Psychology . 8. p. 469. doi:10.2307/3791051. ISBN   9780393022889. ISSN   0162-895X. JSTOR   3791051. LCCN   79644318. OCLC   44544062.
  11. "Philosophy at Hertford College". Oxford: Hertford College . Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  12. Helden, Al Van (1995). "Hobbes, Thomas". The Galileo Project. Rice University . Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  13. King, Preston T. (1993). Thomas Hobbes: Politics and law. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN   978-0-41508083-5.
  14. O'Connor, J. J.; Robertson, E. F. (November 2002). "Thomas Hobbes". School of Mathematics and Statistics. Scotland: University of St Andrews . Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  15. Hobbes, Thomas (1995). Reynolds, Noel B.; Saxonhouse, Arlene W., eds. Three Discourses: A Critical Modern Edition of Newly Identified Work of the Young Hobbes. University of Chicago Press. ISBN   9780226345451.
  16. "English Civil Wars". . A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  17. Professor Morrill (17 February 2011). "British History in depth: Oliver Cromwell". BBC History . BBC. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  18. Stoyle, Dr Mike (17 February 2011). "Choosing Sides in the English Civil War". BBC History . BBC. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  19. "People". NNDB. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  20. Vardanyan, Vilen (10 January 2011). Panorama of Psychology. AuthorHouse. p. 72. ISBN   9781456700324.
  21. Yelegaonkar, Shrikant (2009). Western Thinker's in Political Science. p. 140. ISBN   9781329082779.
  22. Gaskin. "Introduction". Human Nature and De Corpore Politico. Oxford University Press. p. xxx.
  23. "Chapter XIII.: Of the Natural Condition of Mankind As Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery.". Leviathan.
  24. Gaskin. "Of the Rights of Sovereigns by Institution". Leviathan. Oxford University Press. p. 117.
  25. "1000 Makers of the Millennium", p. 42. Dorling Kindersley, 1999
  26. Vélez, F., La palabra y la espada (2014)
  27. Ameriks, Karl; Clarke, Desmond M. (2007). Chappell, Vere, ed. Hobbes and Bramhall on Liberty and Necessity (PDF). Cambridge University Press. p. 31. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511495830. ISBN   9780511495830 . Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  28. 1 2 Robertson, George Croome. "Hobbes, Thoms". Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1911. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  29. p. 282 of Molesworth's edition.
  30. Martinich, A. P. (1995). A Hobbes Dictionary. Cambridge: Blackwell. p. 35.
  31. Martinich, A. P. (1995). A Hobbes Dictionary. Cambridge: Blackwell. p. 31.
  32. Human Nature I.XI.5.
  33. Leviathan III.xxxii.2. "...we are not to renounce our Senses, and Experience; nor (that which is undoubted Word of God) our naturall Reason".
  34. "House of Commons Journal Volume 8". British History Online . Retrieved 14 January 2005.
  35. Grounds, Eric; Tidy, Bill; Stilgoe, Richard (25 November 2014). The Bedside Book of Final Words. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 20. ISBN   9781445644646.
  36. Norman Davies, Europe: A history p. 687
  37. Coulter, Michael L.; Myers, Richard S.; Varacalli, Joseph A. (5 April 2012). Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy: Supplement. Scarecrow Press. p. 140. ISBN   9780810882751.
  38. Hobbes, Thomas (1995). Reynolds, Noel; Saxonhouse, Arlene, eds. Three Discourses: A Critical Modern Edition of Newly Identified Work of the Young Hobbes. University of Chicago Press.
  39. Richard Tuck, Timothy Raylor, and Noel Malcolm vote for Robert Payne. Karl Schuhmann, Cees Leijenhorst, and Frank Horstmann vote for Thomas Hobbes. See the excellent and extended essays Robert Payne, the Hobbes Manuscripts, and the 'Short Tract' (Noel Malcolm, in: Aspects of Hobbes. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2002. pp. 80–145) and Der vermittelnde Dritte (Frank Horstmann, in: Nachträge zu Betrachtungen über Hobbes' Optik. Mackensen, Berlin 2006, ISBN   978-3-926535-51-1. pp. 303–428.)
  40. Schuhmann, Karl (1998). "Skinner's Hobbes". British Journal of the History of Philosophy. 6 (1): 115. p. 118. Skinner, in Visions of Politics, affirms Schuhmann's view: see vol. 3, p. 4, fn. 27. Ioannis Evrigenis presents a summary of this confusing episode, as well as most relevant literature, in Evrigenis, Ioannis D. (2016). Images of Anarchy: The Rhetoric and Science in Hobbes's State of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., p. 48, n. 13.
  41. For this dating see the convincing arguments given by Frank Horstmann, Nachträge zu Betrachtungen über Hobbes' Optik. Mackensen, Berlin 2006, ISBN   978-3-926535-51-1. pp. 19–94
  42. A critical analysis of Thomas White (1593–1676) De mundo dialogi tres, Parisii, 1642.
  43. Modern scholars are divided as to whether or not this translation was done by Hobbes. For a pro-Hobbes account see H. Warrender's introduction to De Cive: The English Edition in The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes (Oxford, 1984). For the contra-Hobbes account see Noel Malcolm, "Charles Cotton, Translator of Hobbes's De Cive" in Aspects of Hobbes (Oxford, 2002)
  44. critical edition: Court traité des premiers principes, text, French translation and commentary by Jean Bernhardt, Paris: PUF, 1988
  45. Timothy Raylor, "Hobbes, Payne, and A Short Tract on First Principles", The Historical Journal, 44, 2001, pp. 29–58.


Further reading

General resources

Critical studies