Three Discourses: A Critical Modern Edition of Newly Identified Work of the Young Hobbes

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University of Chicago Press, 1995 - Philosophy - 181 pages
For the first time in three centuries, this book brings back into print three discourses now confirmed to have been written by the young Thomas Hobbes. Their contents may well lead to a resolution of the long-standing controversy surrounding Hobbes's early influences and the subsequent development of his thought. The volume begins with the recent history of the discourses, first published as part of the anonymous seventeenth-century work, Horae Subsecivae. Drawing upon both internal evidence and external confirmation afforded by new statistical "wordprinting" techniques, the editors present a compelling case for Hobbes's authorship.

Saxonhouse and Reynolds present the complete texts of the discourse with full annotations and modernized spellings. These are followed by a lengthy essay analyzing the pieces' significance for Hobbes's intellectual development and modern political thought more generally. The discourses provide the strongest evidence to date for the profound influences of Bacon and Machiavelli on the young Hobbes, and they add a new dimension to the much-debated impact of the scientific method on his thought. The book also contains both introductory and in-depth explanations of statistical "wordprinting."

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Thomas Hobbes: three discourses: a critical modern edition of newly identified work of the young Hobbes

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The three discourses printed here, together with 12 other pieces, were first published in 1620 under the title Horae Subsecivae (Leisure Hours). Hobbes may have been the author of the discourses, but ... Read full review


Hobbes and the Horae Subsecivae
Introduction to the Horae Subsecivae by Edward Blount
Statistical Wordprinting
Table of Contents of the 162o Horae Subsecivae

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Page 171 - MEMOIRS of the peers of England. During the reign of James the First.

About the author (1995)

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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