Thomas Hobbes

(3331 words)
  • Laurie Bagby (Kansas State University)

Thomas Hobbes was a 17th Century English political philosopher who pioneered the modern social contract theory of government. Hobbes’s most famous work, Leviathan, describes man’s dire condition in the “state of nature” and argues that fear of violent death would compel human beings to contract with each other to form a sovereign government. Such a government would then have absolute power in order to prevent conflict. Hobbes advocated monarchy as the best solution to the civil conflict he so feared. However, his political philosophy formed the foundation for future social contract theory which developed in a more liberal direction.

Thomas Hobbes was born April 5, 1588 in Westport, near Malmesbury,…

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Bagby, Laurie. "Thomas Hobbes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 July 2008
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]