Hobbes, Thomas

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Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was an English philosopher and his seminal work, Leviathan (1651), expounded the idea of a ‘social contract’ — limiting the power of those ruling society. This work and idea had a big impact on Western political thought.

“Thomas Hobbes”
By John Michael Wright

Although Hobbes is best known for his political philosophy, he wrote on a wide range of subjects. Many of his views are controversial, not least his defence of physicalism — the theory that everything in the world is exclusively physical in nature, allowing no room for the existence of other natural entities, such as the mind, or for supernatural beings (isn’t being controversial pretty much an imperative in the field of philosophy? Says the old chestnut, me one & only Secret Sharer). For Hobbes and those who subscribe to ‘physicalism,’ all animals, including us, are nothing more than flesh-and-blood machines.

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
“Curiosity is the lust of the mind.”
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
“Leisure is the mother of philosophy.”

A “101” on Hobbes (Editable PDF).


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