Leviathan, Parts I and II

Bobbs-Merrill, 1958 - 298 páginas
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First published in 1651, "Leviathan" is Thomas Hobbes' work of political philosophy in which he outlines his theories on an ideal state and its creation. Written in the middle of the 17th century during the English Civil War, Hobbes' argues that a strong central government with an absolute sovereign was necessary to bring about an ordered society. Given the tumultuous events of English society at the time of the writing of "Leviathan" it is clear to see the motivations for Hobbes' insistence on a strong central government in the face of the chaos caused by social and political upheaval. Hobbes believed that the prospect of peace that this type of system would provide was worth giving up some of the natural freedoms of man. "Leviathan", whose title is a reference to a biblical monster, is divided into the following four parts: Part I: Of Man, Part II: Of Common-wealth, Part III: Of a Christian Common-wealth, and Part IV: Of the Kingdom of Darkness. In the first part Hobbes gives an account of human nature which forms the basis for his subsequent prescriptions regarding the establishment of an ordered commonwealth. Considered by some to be among the greatest works of political philosophy ever written, the influence of "Leviathan" on modern political theory cannot be overstated. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper.

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The Introduction
Of Religion
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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.

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