Thomas Hobbes was the first great English political philosopher, and his book Leviathan was one of the first truly modern works of philosophy. He has long had the reputation of being a pessimistic atheist, who saw human nature as inevitably evil and proposed a totalitarian state to subdue human failings.
In this study, Richard Tuck dispels these myths, revealing Hobbes to have been passionately concerned with the refutation of scepticism in both sciences and ethics, and to have developed a theory of knowledge which rivalled that of Descartes in its importance for the formation of modern philosophy.
10 pages matching Descartes's in this book
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Okay, to be fair, I already agree with much of Tuck's method. I do think the best way to understand political thought is to pay attention scrupulously to its historical context; that such attention will probably reveal no Immortal, Eternal Wisdom but rather a set of tactical responses to actual political events; that the first interpreters of political books are most likely the best interpreters. So I'm biased. All that said, this was one of the best VSIs I've read: a massive amount of information, a clear and reasonably readable style, a perfect balance between depth and breadth. You get a great summary of Hobbes' context and his biography, a good summary of his thought (including, crucially, his physics, metaphysics, methodology and religious thought as well as the ethics and politics), and a great summary of Hobbes interpretation. It's unclear to me why Goodreads reviewers insist on giving it 3 stars, unless they're all Straussians or are put off by Tuck's unbalanced description of C. B. McPherson's work (which - in 'Possessive Individualism' at least - does not claim, as Tuck suggests, that Hobbes is the defender of the bourgeoisie; it argues quite persuasively that Hobbes took his own social context to provide an eternal picture of human nature). Highly recommended.
Review: Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)User Review - Goodreads
It's quite a while since I read a philosophy book with real intent. The intent is to get back to where I was when I left my last Manchester seminar room in 1985. I think this book has helped me get ...
Interpretations of Hobbes
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