Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory.
Hobbes was a champion of absolutism for the sovereign but he also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the later distinction between civil society and the state); the view that all legitimate political power must be "representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid.
He was one of the founders of modern political philosophy. His understanding of humans as being matter and motion, obeying the same physical laws as other matter and motion, remains influential; and his account of human nature as self-interested cooperation, and of political communities as being based upon a "social contract" remains one of the major topics of political philosophy.
In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields, including history, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general philosophy.
Famous quotes containing the words thomas hobbes, thomas and/or hobbes:
“The next thing his Lordship does, after clearing of the coast, is the dividing of his forces, as he calls them, into two squadrons, one of places of Scriptures, the other of reasons....
All that I have to say touching this, is that I observe a great part of those his forces do look and march another way, and some of them fight amongst themselves.”
—Thomas Hobbes (15791688)
O let him
Scald me and drown
Me in his worlds wound.
His lightning answers my
Cry. My voice burns in his hand.”
—Dylan Thomas (19141953)
“They that approve a private opinion, call it an opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.”
—Thomas Hobbes (15881679)