"Leviathan" or, as it was originally titled: "Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiastical and Civil," is 1651 by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. The title derives from the Biblical Leviathan, a chaotic sea-monster. The book is a treatise on the idea of a structure of society that … [Read more...] about Leviathan
Thomas Hobbes was born on April 5th, 1588 in Westport, Wiltshire, England. Not much is known about his early childhood, except that his mother gave birth to him prematurely when she heard a rumor that the Spanish Armada was going to invade. Hobbes' father, Thomas Sr. was a vicar in Westport and he had two siblings.
When Thomas was a child, his father abandoned the family after a fight with another local clergy member. Thomas Sr.'s older brother, Francis then took care of the family, sending Hobbes to a private school and then eventually, to University at Magdalen Hall, the precursor school to what is today Hertford College, Oxford. During this time, Hobbes began working on and subsequently publishing translations of the work of Euripides.
After school, Hobbes began working as a tutor to the Baron of Hardwick, son of William Cavendish, and later Earl of Devonshire.
Hobbes and the younger Cavendish became good friends and went on a tour of Europe in 1610. Hobbes began publishing works of his own. After the Earl died in 1628, Hobbes was dismissed, but he soon began working as a tutor for the son of Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet.
He later began working for the Cavendish family again, tutoring the son of his original pupil. Hobbes began debating in philosophy groups in Paris during the 1630's and began considering himself a philosopher.
In 1642, the English Civil War began, and two years later many of the royalists devoted to the king fled to Paris, where Hobbes was still living. This same year, Hobbes wrote his first major political work called "De Cive," the first of a trilogy of Hobbes devoted to human knowledge.
It was also during this time that Hobbes began working on his best-known work, "Leviathan." A serious illness plagued Hobbes for several years during the writing, after which he began writing again in 1650 and "Leviathan" was published the next year. After the publication, Hobbes immediately had a reputation as both a genius and a heathen. The publication of the book severed his ties with the exiled royalists who now hated him and any ties with the Anglicans and French Catholics because of the comments on religion in the book. Hobbes appealed to the English government for protection and moved back to London in 1651.
In 1658, Hobbes published the last of his trilogy on human knowledge "De Homine." This completed a notion that he had thought up 20 years earlier. Respectable society hated him so much by this point that the word "Hobbism" was created to denounce everything they ought to avoid. However, the new king, Charles II was the former pupil of Hobbes. He colluded to protect Hobbes when the House of Commons created a bill against atheism, which Hobbes was often suspected of. The only result of the bill was that Hobbes was never allowed to publish anything in human nature or conduct in England again. But his books still circulated in other countries.
At the end of his life, he continued to write but only produced translations of the Illiad and Odyssey and an autobiography. Hobbes died on December 4th, 1679 at the age of 91 of a paralytic stroke. He is interred in St John the Baptist's Church, Ault Hucknall in Derbyshire.