Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

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Synopsis

He that is to govern a whole nation, must read in himself, not this, or that particular man; but mankind.

Leviathan is both a magnificent literary achievement and the greatest work of political philosophy in the English language. Permanently challenging, it has found new applications and new refutations in every generation. Hobbes argues that human beings are first and foremost concerned with their own individual desires and fears. He shows that a conflict of each against every man can only be avoided by the adoption of a compact to enforce peace. The compact involves giving up some of our
natural freedom to a sovereign power which will enforce the laws of peace on all citizens. Hobbes also analyses the subversive forces - religion, ambition, private conscience - that threaten to destroy the body politic, Leviathan itself, and return us to the state of war.

This new edition reproduces the first printed text, retaining the original punctuation but modernizing the spelling. It offers exceptionally thorough and useful annotation, an introduction that guides the reader through the complexities of Hobbes's arguments, and a substantial index.
 

About Thomas Hobbes

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Thomas Hobbes was born in Malmesbury, the son of a wayward country vicar. He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and was supported during his long life by the wealthy Cavendish family, the Earls of Devonshire. Traveling widely, he met many of the leading intellectuals of the day, including Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and Rene Descartes. As a philosopher and political theorist, Hobbes established---along with, but independently of, Descartes---early modern modes of thought in reaction to the scholasticism that characterized the seventeenth century. Because of his ideas, he was constantly in dispute with scientists and theologians, and many of his works were banned. His writings on psychology raised the possibility (later realized) that psychology could become a natural science, but his theory of politics is his most enduring achievement. In brief, his theory states that the problem of establishing order in society requires a sovereign to whom people owe loyalty and who in turn has duties toward his or her subjects. His prose masterpiece Leviathan (1651) is regarded as a major contribution to the theory of the state.
 
Published July 4, 1996 by OUP Oxford. 577 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Science & Math, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, History, Professional & Technical, Young Adult, Children's Books, Travel. Non-fiction

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