Synopses & Reviews
Its appeal to the twentieth century lies not just in its elevation of politics to a science, but in its overriding concern for peace. Its argument that the state of nature, in which life is 'nasty, brutish and short (and patriarchal), is important, but so too is its systematic analysis of power, and its convincing apologia for the then emergent market society in which we still live.
Written during the turmoil of the English Civil War, "Leviathan" is an ambitious work of philosophy. Claiming that man's essential nature is competitive and selfish, Thomas Hobbes formulates the case for a powerful sovereign - or "Leviathan" - to enforce peace and the law.
"During the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre"
Written during the turmoil of the English Civil War, Leviathan is an ambitious and highly original work of political philosophy. Claiming that man's essential nature is competitive and selfish, Hobbes formulates the case for a powerful sovereign--or "Leviathan"--to enforce peace and the law, substituting security for the anarchic freedom he believed human beings would otherwise experience. This worldview shocked many of Hobbes's contemporaries, and his work was publicly burnt for sedition and blasphemy when it was first published. But in his rejection of Aristotle's view of man as a naturally social being, and in his painstaking analysis of the ways in which society can and should function, Hobbes opened up a whole new world of political science.
Based on the original 1651 text, this edition incorporates Hobbes's own corrections, while also retaining the original spelling and punctuation, to read with vividness and clarity. C. B. Macpherson's introduction elucidates one of the most fascinating works of modern philosophy for the general reader.
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