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PHIL 2101: Introduction to Philosophy: Hobbes

OER for Prof. Dunn and Prof. Kang

About Thomas Hobbes

Portrait by John Michael WrightThomas Hobbes, (born April 5, 1588, Westport, Wiltshire, England—died December 4, 1679, Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire), English philosopher, scientist, and historian, best known for his political philosophy, especially as articulated in his masterpiece Leviathan (1651). Hobbes viewed government primarily as a device for ensuring collective security. Political authority is justified by a hypothetical social contract among the many that vests in a sovereign person or entity the responsibility for the safety and well-being of all. In metaphysics, Hobbes defended materialism, the view that only material things are real. His scientific writings present all observed phenomena as the effects of matter in motion. Hobbes was not only a scientist in his own right but a great systematizer of the scientific findings of his contemporaries, including Galileo and Johannes Kepler. His enduring contribution is as a political philosopher who justified wide-ranging government powers on the basis of the self-interested consent of citizens.

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Image source: 

John Michael Wright. (Unknown date). Thomas Hobbes by John Michael Wright [Oil on canvas]. Height: 75.6 cm (29.7 in); Width: 64.1 cm (25.2 in). Retrieved from

Biography source:

Thomas Hobbes. (2018, September 27). [Online encyclopaedia]. Retrieved October 31, 2018, from

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