Hobbes and Bramhall on Liberty and Necessity

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 28, 1999 - Philosophy - 104 pages
Do human beings ever act freely, and if so what does freedom mean? Is everything that happens antecedently caused, and if so how is freedom possible? Is it right, even for God, to punish people for things they cannot help doing? This volume presents the famous seventeenth-century controversy in which Thomas Hobbes and John Bramhall debate these questions and others. The complete texts of their initial contributions to the debate are included, together with selections from their subsequent replies to one another and from other works of Hobbes.
 

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Contents

Bramhalls discourse of liberty and necessity
1
Hobbess treatise Of Liberty and Necessity
15
Selections from Bramhall A Defence of True Liberty
43
Selections from Hobbes The Questions concerning Liberty Necessity and Chance
69
Selections from other works of Hobbes
91
Leviathan
93
De corpore
96
De homine
97
Index
98
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About the author (1999)

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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