Thomas Hobbes Quotes


Best Quotations by Thomas Hobbes


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Although it seems that much of The Elements of Law was composed before the sitting of the Short Parliament there are polemical pieces of the work that clearly mark the influences of the rising political crisis. For example Hobbes argued repeatedly that there are no incorporeal substances and that all things including human thoughts and even God heaven and hell are corporeal matter in motion. Leviathan

In Leviathan Hobbes set out his doctrine of the foundation of states and legitimate governments – originating social contract theory.

His understanding of humans as being matter and motion obeying the same physical laws as other matter and motion remains influential; and his account of human nature as self-interested cooperation and of political communities as being based upon a "social contract" remains one of the major topics of political philosophy. Hobbes was a champion of absolutism for the sovereign but he also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the later distinction between civil society and the state); the view that all legitimate political power must be "representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid. In addition to political philosophy Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields including history geometry the physics of gases theology ethics and general philosophy.