Talk:Thomas Hobbes

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WikiWorld logo.JPG Thomas Hobbes was featured in a WikiWorld cartoon:
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Hobbes in Pop. Culture[edit]

In the space flight simulator Wing Commander, there is a Kilrathi character with the callsign "Hobbes". He claims it was given to him by a friend who claimed he was very wise, much like the philosopher. Incidentally, the in-joke is obvious in that his species are similar to that of tigers, which references Hobbes of "Calvin and Hobbes". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Raptor4815 (talkcontribs) 20:23, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Reference to this was made in an earlier version of the article; the same with Calvin and Hobbes. Both were removed by consensus as distracting.
There are also creatures in the game Fable by Lionhead Studios that are called "Hobbes," "Hobbes" being the plural form and "Hobbe" singular. They are, not surprisingly, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Just mentioning it here in case anyone feels like including it. I will not edit the actual article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:55, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

The dead rapper Big L starts his track, Put it on, 'Yo you better flee hobbes' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:23, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

1911 article[edit]

The bits from the 1911 article article are only partly edited. Parts of it didn't really survive the OCR process in any meaningful form. And it might even be too detailed (although in that case, maybe it should be condensed and the full article should be moved onto a subpage.)

I'll be diving back into it soon to do some editing, when I have more time. But I'm never in favor of removing potentially useful information from an article just because it's a little messy right now. Dachshund

Hobbes's views disputed[edit]

Hobbes's views are much disputed, and Richard Tuck, although influential, is also much criticized. It would be nice if this entry could give a more balanced view of Hobbes's philosophy. In particular, if it could incorporate criticism of the traditional interpretation, works other that Leviathan, etc.

You (or someone else) clumsily edited out references to Prof. Tuck, in such a way that references remain without antecedents. Please return the original references and state *what* exactly you think is wrong with Tuck's reading. He is, after all, the preeminent living scholar of Hobbes. In fact, it is shameful that none of his work are in the references section. 01:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Hobbes's health[edit]

In October 1679 a bladder disorder was followed by a paralytic stroke, under which he died, in his ninety-second year. He was buried in the churchyard of Ault Hucknall.

It seems that at least up until 1679, Hobbes's life was not terribly nasty or brutish, nor was it at all short. --Sewing 23:50, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

(Because he lived in a civilized society.Lestrade (talk) 20:45, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Lestrade)

Hobbes lived under a monarchical government, which he defended for the very reason that he believed it altered the natural condition of man in such a way that his life would no longer be nasty, brutish or short. --Adam Acosta, 20 March 2005

He suffered with something akin to Parkinson's Disease for at least the last two decades of his life. He was unable to write and had to employ an amanuensis, James Wheldon, to transcribe his thoughts. Oakeshott 21:40, 21 January 2007 (UTC) 21:38, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

The part about the amanuensis is true, but did he really have a Parkinson's equivalent? He played tennis regularly almost up to his death. 01:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)


In the debate on US Neoconservatives, they are often pointed out as "Hobbesian". Maybe this would merit to be mentioned?

A dictionary definition once existed as the wikipedia article on Hobbesian:

The belief that violence is the state of nature, and therefore incurable. Life is a fight of all against all, resulting in a world with, quoting Hobbes: "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
Synonyms: barbaric, brutal, ferocious, heartless, monstrous, primitive, rough, rude, ruthless, uncivilised, wild, fierce, hellish, revengeful, unfeeling, unkind, vicious, virulent, wicked, hostile.

--Ruhrjung 21:27, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hobbes did use the term 'state of nature', although very rarely, and never in his main works Leviathan or Behemoth. Eg see Rudiments chapter 1, section 4.

Founder of political liberalism[edit]

Is it really accurate to say "Hobbes is the founder of political liberalism"? According to whom? Isn't it more common to say that Locke was the founder? POV notice: I more or less like political liberalism, and I can't stand Hobbes. - Nat Krause 07:53, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 08:38, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)) I don't know what political liberalism is, but I doubt Hobbes fits it, just guessing from the name. He strongly believed in the power of the sovereign and approved of censorship where necessary for reasons of state.
It does seem a little unlikely, especially since shortly afterwards the article says that Hobbes opposed the seperation of powers, a key tenent of classical liberalism. I believe Hobbes is in fact the father of political conservativsm.
(William M. Connolley 08:31, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)) I doubt Hobbes can truley be considered the father of any current movement. He is far too uncompromising for anyone's tastes nowadays (or then, come to it).

Hobbes was one of the first to introduce the concept of the social contract, and for that alone he could be considered a father of modern liberalism. Bigger brains than mine (John Gray, for instance) make this point and others. It is, to this autodidact, a perfectly reasonable position to take.

Hobbes' philosophy sounds more like libertarianism than liberalism to me, particularly with respect to the supremacy of the free market.

(William M. Connolley 22:09, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)) Probably not. Libertarians would probably forbid the government to break contracts, either between individuals or between individuals and the govt. Hobbes allows the govt to do anything. Indeed, the supremacy of the central authority is his major argument, which is hardly libertarian, as I understand it.

Hobbes can be seen as the founder of political liberalism because he is the foundered of the political philosophical tradition that see the individual as the basic and central unit of social life. It is from this world view that later thinks, such as Locke, create the tenets of political liberalism that is more recognizable today.

I agree with the earlier comments that it would be more accurate to describe Hobbes as the founder of libertarianism. The social contract requires adherence to laws, and breaches of this result in strong government retaliation. Hobbes does not wish government to intrude on other aspects of everyday life in the state. As even the current entry correctly states, Hobbes believed “so long as one man does no harm to any other, the sovereign should keep its hands off him”. As such, the central authority in Hobbes’ state is only strong when dealing with issues pertaining to the breach of the social contract, and does not interest itself on issues such as the public welfare, as a liberal government would. Ergo, he’s definitely not the founder of liberalism, but there’s a strong case for him being the founder of libertarianism (considering of course that they hadn’t quite mastered the free market when he was around)

(William M. Connolley 20:08, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)) Whether he could be considered the founder I don't know; but I'm pretty sure he is not compatible with current libertarianism. As far as Hobbes is concerned, the Sovereign can do as it likes. It is certainly true that the Sov should obey the law, and even perhaps "so long as one man does no harm to any other, the sovereign should keep its hands off him" (rather unhobbesian langauge). But note the *should*: from Hobbes POV, if the Sov chooses to disregard the should, there is nothing to stop it breaking the law and no recourse.

Those who say that he was the founder of political liberalism argue that it has a Hobbesian basis: the idea was that Locke "corrected" Hobbes on Hobbesian principles, that liberalism better protects those things which Hobbes said were alone worth protecting. Hobbes is called the founder, however, because it was he who argued for those things being the true ends of government, the protection of which was the touchstone of all legitimate authority. Political libertarianism is one strand of political liberalism, and one that I don't think Hobbes would support. As it is a contested matter, I think his being the founder should be mentioned in the article as one interpretation among others. -RJC 06:12, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If anyone has a copy of C B Macpherson's "Possessive Individualism" to hand (I don't, sadly), that can be used as a basis for indicating Hobbes as a proto-liberal. Nach0king 12:48, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

It is anachronistic to consider Hobbes either a political liberal or libertarian. Possibly the root of this claim might be that he first articulated the meaning of liberty as freedom from external constraints- this can be found in Chapter 21 of Leviathan. He could therefore be considered the founder of political liberty in the modern sense, rather than political liberalism. See Quentin Skinner, 'Hobbes and Republican Liberty', Cambridge University Press, 2008 -- (talk) 12:53, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

The arguments put forward against labeling early modern thinkers as "liberal" tend to be overly formal, e.g., that the term didn't come into usage until later. When describing their thought, however, historiographers call them liberals in everything but the name, attributing to them positions commonly associated with liberalism. Many scholars are not dissuaded from using the term by Skinner's insistence that it is anachronistic, so we cannot adopt his position to the exclusion of theirs. RJC Talk Contribs 13:39, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't know if this is the right place to add to the talk section, but regarding Hobbes and liberalism - the jury is out. It depends on that you think liberalism is. So, for instance, Susun Moller Okin writes: "Though Hobbes was no liberal in his conclusions, advocating an absolute rather than restrained state, many of his most important ideas-including original individual equality and freedom-became central tenets of liberal theory," "Humanist Liberalism,' in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), page 257, David Van Mill is even stronger about him being a liberal (see his article 'Hobbes and the Limits of Freedom', while Alan Ryan writes "it would be absurd to call Hobbes a liberal” Ryan, "Hobbes's Political Philosophy" in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes, ed. Tom Sorrell (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), page 233. (----)

Calvin and Hobbes[edit]

(William M. Connolley 19:46, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)) There is now a link to calvin+hobbes at the bottom and top of the page. I don't think the one at the top is appropriate. No-one is going to look for C+H under T H. Better to make Hobbes (currently a re direct) into the disambig and delete C+H from this page.

Apart from the name, there is no relation between the philosopher and the cartoon.Lestrade (talk) 20:47, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Lestrade
As soon as I learned about Thomas Hobbes and read through this article (only just today - not exactly a classical education), I immediately thought of ''Calvin and Hobbes''. According to their WP article, "The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher." The statement sports two citations including to the writings of the artist. I am not advocating a trivia addition as I dislike those, but this is to alert (talk) to the information. The strip is a gem; I hope he gives it a fair chance as he may be pleasantly surprized. The collected strips are available in bookstores and public libraries. Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 22:54, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Tuck on Hobbes... para cut to talk[edit]

(William M. Connolley 19:02, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)) I've cut this:

This political philosophy has been analysed by the influential Richard Tuck as a response to the problems that Cartesian doubt introduce for moral philosophy. Hobbes concedes, with the sceptics and with Descartes, that we cannot know anything about the external world for certain from our sense impressions of it. His philosophy is seen as an attempt to base a coherent theory of social formation purely on the fact of the sense impressions themselves, arguing that these sense impressions are enough for man to act to preserve his own life, and building up his entire political philosophy from that single imperative.

here to see if anyone wants to defend it. Firstly, we cannot know anything about the external world for certain from our sense impressions of it is not obvious. Hobbes clearly asserts that we get our ideas from external sense impressions, but doesn't obviously express Cartesian type doubt. Secondly, I can't see how he bases all his theory on this: he explicitly introduces "laws of nature" type things which appear to me to be deductions from the mental sphere.

I don't really feel like defending it, but read Hobbes again, as well as his response to Descartes' Meditations, with this question in mind. You will likely have a different take when you are focused on the issue (I did). I believe Tuck is right. 15:00, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

This section was removed, but I believe it should be reinserted. The point to remember is that "Reason concludeth no thing universally," and so on. If you carefully read the "laws of nature," which are indeed logical deductions of a sort, you will see that they make sense under the presumption of a radical sort of uncertainty, so it does indeed have important consequences. 01:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Vandal edit disappeared...?[edit]

Something odd happened, and the edit I reverted, by 17:39 . . has vanished from the edit history as of now. I don't understand.

Hobbes at Oxford[edit]

The article states that Hobbes attended Magdalen Hall in 1603, yet the link states that Magdalen Hall was renamed Magdalen College in 1458. Which one's right?

He is listed as an alumnus of Hertford College. I haven't heard of him being a student of Magdalen...

The biographical sources I have all state Hobbes attended Magdalen Hall, Oxford from 1603-1608 Oakeshott 17:31, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it also says something about 'his master at Magdalen' so I will correct it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

See Hertford College, Oxford. Which says it was briefly Magdalen Hall. Though not when Hobbes was there. Of course it could be telling porkies. Ah, but [1] supports it William M. Connolley (talk) 14:26, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

No your wrong, in the Oxford University Press addition of Leviathan, it cites that he went to Magdalen Hall, spelt with an N at the end and not an E. And it also goes on to say that Magdalen Hall became part of Magdalen College, Oxford. You can see this for yourself here:,M1

Page 9! read it. I am changing it again. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, jolly good, we now have two sources that say "different things. Yours doesn't quite say that MH because part of MC, only that the buildings are now part of MC. Mine says very specifically that "Hertford College was formed from the amalgamation of two medieval halls, Hart Hall (founded 1282) and Magdalen Hall (founded 1448)" William M. Connolley (talk) 21:42, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, it actually says on the Hertford College, Oxford page - that it is not to be confused with the Magdalen Hall, that became part of Magdalen College. And it says that Hert Hall changed to Magdalen hall later on due to poverty or something. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Are we clear now? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jackdelyelis (talkcontribs) 22:05, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

No, of course not. You can't use the Hertford page itself as proof of anything; though you could use the sources on it. So far, we have 2 ext sources which disagree William M. Connolley (talk) 20:13, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
So, continuing the confusion... MC says "Magdalen College was founded as Magdalen Hall in 1448 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. It became Magdalen College in 1458." and I'm inclined to accept that for now. So "and around 1603 he went up to Magdalen Hall, which was later renamed Magdalen College" can't be right. I presume that by Hobbes time we have *another* MH having been created. I don't fully understand that (ah, except HC page says "Due to funding problems, the College's buildings were taken over as Magdalen Hall (not related to the similarly named Magdalen College whose separate Hall had been incorporated into the University as a college years before" so it *does* make sense). What appears to have happened is that MH moved to Hertfords site when Hertford ran into funding problems "Due to funding problems, the College's buildings were taken over as Magdalen Hall". And after that I *think* that Hertford was established from the merger of MH and HC. So: Hobbes went to MH. He definitely did *not* go to MC - there is no relation (notice that the source you rely on does *not* state that MH turned into MC - only that its buildings were acquired by MC). But he didn't go to Hertford either - he went to something that merged into/with Hertford.

The Hall became Hertford College in 1740. Due to funding problems, the College's buildings were taken over as Magdalen Hall ... in 1822.

So how could Hobbes have been at that Magdalen Hall!? when it was created in 1822! So therefore he must have been at one that became part of Magdalen College.(Jackdelyelis (talk) 23:11, 8 May 2008 (UTC))

I have taken off the bit about Hertford, and just left it as Magdalen Hall! So we can end this geek-off! (Jackdelyelis (talk) 23:11, 8 May 2008 (UTC))

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

If you're getting bored with the details, you should move on. Otherwise: MH wasn't created in 1822. Hobbes went to MH. Later, MH moved into Hertfords buildings when Hertford ran into money troubles. Somewhat later, MH and Hertford merged (in some sense not yet perfectly clear). I don't think you can rely on "the College's buildings were taken over as Magdalen Hall" as literally true William M. Connolley (talk) 20:12, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to rely on OUP, and add that the 'buildings are now part of Magdalen College'. On Hertford's page it says something about this:

Magdalen Hall (not related to the similarly named Magdalen College whose separate Hall had been incorporated into the University as a college years before).

I trust Oxford University Press to be factual, more than I trust Hertford's philosophy fellows. (Jackdelyelis (talk) 23:11, 8 May 2008 (UTC))

Ah, but why should we rely on who you trust? I don't think its at all likely that Hertford fellows are going to lie, though they may be stretching things. Nor are you trusting OUP - they are only the publisher. What that book you found says only that the buildings have changed hands. More important is the college entity William M. Connolley (talk) 07:35, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Hobbes atheism[edit]

Other uses popular immediately Hobbes published carry connotations of atheism and the belief that "might makes right."

This sentence is very convoluted. Can anyone who understands this reword it? Also, wasn't Hobbes an atheist? --Malathion 4 July 2005 09:27 (UTC)

I believe that another version would be: Other uses of the word, which were popular immediately after the publication of Hobbes's work, carry connotations of atheism and of the belief that "might makes right.". Hobbes was not an aetheist (at least, as judged from Leviathan). He frequently uses language that implies/directly states his belief in God. OTOH, his logic forces him to conclusions that might have looked like atheism at the time - that the clergy are subject to the crown; that there is no way to be sure of revelation; that which books of the bible are genuine is a matter for the civil power; etc. William M. Connolley 2005-07-04 10:17:34 (UTC).
There is an ongoing debate over Hobbes' atheism. Some try to make him into a hard-nosed Christian, based primarily on the fact that he calls himself one. From this, they interpret his thought in a way that does not require that he have disdained God. I don't think they have a leg to stand on. His statements on superstition, religion, and true religion are so convoluted, and logically incompatible with a belief in God, that it seems implausible that any believer could have written them. On the other hand, denying that he believed in God means accepting that we can judge what Christianity is and thus whether another has adhered to it. This is very close to judging the validity of another's belief. Some people might be uncomfortable doing this. To say that Hobbes either was or was not is to take some stand concerning what a belief in God entails. --RJC 4 July 2005 14:26 (UTC)
Hobbes statements on religion and true religion don't seem at all convoluted to me: to the contrary, they are succint and precise: to whit: Feare of power invisible, feigned by the mind, or imagined from tales publicly allowed, RELIGION; not allowed, SUPERSTITION. And when the power imagined is truly such as we imagine, TRUE RELIGION. Leviathan, ch VI. Its on my user page... William M. Connolley 2005-07-04 15:24:47 (UTC).
Yes, so one could immediately think that, objectively, there is no difference between "religion" and "superstition," or that religion is just a state supported superstition. This would of course cause quite an uproar, were it not for the addition of "true religion" as a separate category. So the question then becomes, is there a sustainable difference between "religion" and "true religion" on Hobbes' premises, or is the latter added simply to avoid too much of an uproar. Yet the truth of a proposition depends upon the significance of the terms with which it is stated, and this significance is in turn set by the sovereign (sorry, I left my Leviathan in the office, so no citation). A true religion is true because one's sovereign has said it to be, which is to say that true religion, as well, is nothing more than a superstition allowed by the sovereign. This can be even further refined: a true religion is a superstition said to be true by one's own sovereign, religion merely one allowed, and by any sovereign. Given how careful Hobbes is with his definitions, attempting to establish the appearance of a system modeled on the exactitude of geometry; and given that he has already snuck nasty things into his definitions, such that the aristocratic virtues are not so much refuted as defined into psychologically impossibility; it is unlikely that he missed this about religion and true religion. --RJC 4 July 2005 18:50 (UTC)
I agree that the addition of "true religion" was probably a sop to the times. OTOH I disagree with your interp otherwise: as it clearly says: tales publicly allowed, RELIGION - ie, its religion if the sovereign sponsors it. True religion, by contrast, is when its really like that, which is of course outside the sov's power. I don't know what you mean about the aristo stuff, though. Are you talking about "honour"? William M. Connolley 2005-07-04 19:06:40 (UTC).
Yes and no. When pride is just vainglory writ large, and magnanimity just an (inexplicable) contempt for small helps, the Aristotelean gentleman no longer exists as a human type. Regarding truth: as one of the things the sovereign does is to fix what various words signify (this being one of the things contested in the state of nature), and as truth and falsehood are nothing more than attributes of speech, Hobbes really does make the sovereign the arbiter of truth. (I suspect, having noticed your attachment to climatology, that you would find this assertion of sovereign authority to be particularly distasteful.) Hobbes does hold out the possiblity that one can make erroneous suppositions about events to come or events passed, but he is quite clear that this does not involve truth or falsehood. We may want to move this to our talk pages (if you wish to continue it), however, lest Talk:Thomas Hobbes actually be a discussion of Thomas Hobbes, rather than of the article about him. --RJC 4 July 2005 20:31 (UTC)
Hobbes words (see Lev page; king of dark; point 3) don't support your interpretation of "true". Truth appears as an absolute. William M. Connolley 11:14:28, 2005-07-14 (UTC).

The evidence from Hobbes' writings support the view that Hobbes was not athiest but anti-clerical. He detested those theocrats that sought to elevate the theological power above the civil power. Oakeshott 17:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm a newbie so not sure if my entry is appropriate, however on the subject of his atheism, it might be of interest to note that a close friend of Thomas claims to have visited and spoken to him after Thomas had died. His friend John Bunyan (an English author), just after a failed suicide attempt, was shown a vision of hell by his guardian angel and found Thomas there because he had been an atheist. Please see heading "An Atheist in Hell" in John Bynyan's vision of Hell MaxWikiUser (talk) 10:36, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

The above statement has no reflection of Hobbes whatsoever, it's simply akin to the conspiracies of Darwin's death and some death-bed conversion on his part. The statement above that however, agreed. Hobbes stated time and time again that he believed in a God, in a deity, a form of Providence. As stated in the article, the "accusations of atheism" he was faced with in terms of that, he fervently denied. He was no atheist, as he had to repeat (back then it was kind of an insult). He was simply a man who held views that were against those of the clerics, thus was misunderstood by the clerics of the time. (talk) 10:01, 29 March 2013 (UTC)


— Preceding unsigned comment added by Storris (talkcontribs) 01:40, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

To clarify on Hobbes and Atheism:

In Leviathan, Hobbes used 'Atheist' and 'Atheism' with their modern definitions:

"except by the Sadduces, who erred so farre on the other hand, as not to believe there were at all any spirits, (which is very neere to direct Atheisme)" Leviathan, Chapter 8, Pg 61 (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1909)

"Subjects therefore in the Kingdome of God, are not Bodies Inanimate, nor creatures Irrational, because they understand no Precepts as his. Nor Atheists, nor they that believe not that God has any care of the actions of mankind... because they acknowledge no Word for his, nor have hope of his rewards, or fear of his threatnings." Leviathan, Chapter 31, Pg 275 (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1909)

And he expressly denies the charge here, by stating a belief in the divine hand of God as the cause of all things:

"...every act of mans will, and every desire, and inclination proceedeth from some cause, and that from another cause in a continuall chaine, (whose first link is in the hand of God, the first of all causes)..." Leviathan, Chapter 21, Pg 162 (Oxford:Clarendon Press 1909)

The edition of Leviathan referenced, is here --> — Preceding unsigned comment added by Storris (talkcontribs) 01:35, 22 October 2013 (UTC)


Hobbes was an important political philosopher. I personally don't feel qualified to create an infobox on him, but I believe that one is needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I've now created the infobox; it does need some work though and help would be appreciated. Mikker ... 20:10, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Hobbes & Wing Commander[edit]

  1. Hobbes is the name of a major Wing Commander character in at least 3 games and a few novels. In total they have sold millions of copies. The page about this character however is still underdeveloped.
  2. Hobbes redirects to Thomas Hobbes, meaning that people who search the character won't find him. This is a problem.
  3. It's difficult to define something as more important than something else. Personally, I never heard about Calvin and Hobbes (which are referred to) until now. And a character of a fictional universe that is known by millions vs. a comic book character that is known by millions. Seems that both are important. Moreover, who decides what is important? What criteria? This is a big world, with many subcultures and I don't think that Wikipedia should make statements about what is important and what isn't.
  4. Two possible solution: (1) refering to the game character on the Thomas Hobbes page or (2) making Hobbes a dismabig page. Personally I think that the last solution is the best, as there are possibly more meanings for Hobbes. 20:29, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I think that a disambig is probably best William M. Connolley 20:35, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, just off the cuff I'd say Calvin & Hobbes is far better known than the nickname of a character in a computer game. That said, I have no objection to turning Hobbes into a disambig. My sole problem is that the Thomas Hobbes article is much too important to clutter with the nicknames of characters in computer games. (or comics for that matter). Mikker ... 20:37, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I have never in my life heard of these computer game characters but I am fairly certain that Calvin and Hobbes are very well known.

There is a third solution, which I've just implemented. Hobbes (disambiguation) includes links to here, Calvin and Hobbes, and one for the game character. Hobbes still redirects to this page, and at the top instead of a link to Calvin and Hobbes there's one to the disambiguation page. See Birmingham or Bristol for other examples. --ajn (talk) 20:42, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Bit of a shame to cut off a good war before its properly begun, but that does look like a sensible solution :-) William M. Connolley 20:57, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Quite! Incidents like these really make me believe in WP! Jimbo would prob be proud... (and, yes, shame on nipping the war in the budd :). Mikker ... 21:04, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
It's a problem which crops up quite often in city pages. Boston is another example - personally, I always assume Boston, Lincolnshire when I see the word, but I'm very much in a global minority there. Birmingham is a bit trickier, as the US and UK cities are both well-known, and there was some argument recently about whether Birmingham should be a disambiguation page or whether it should redirect to the English city. --ajn (talk) 10:27, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Calvin and Hobbes is possibly the most well known comic strip ever. Not Millions. Super-Bajillions --Mackilicious 01:37, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Maybe where you live - while I recognise the name, I've never read it and I'm fairly certain it's never been published anywhere outside North America. iridescent (talk to me!) 01:41, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

name of Recent Biography?[edit]

I recall watching BookTV about 5 or 6 years ago that taped a graduate school seminar of Hobbes given by a bigorapher Anyone know the name of the book or author? John wesley 15:17, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Vandalism Repair?[edit]

I'm ashamed to say I don't know how to fix the vandalism on the "Thomas Hobbes" page. Maybe someone else does.

Somehow the vandal has replaced the initial "Early Life" section with the following:

"Image:Http:// Hobbes (portrait).jpg

Hobbes was very good friends with Lexington Steele, Nacho Vidal and Peter North. He back packed around Thailand once, but didn't think much of it. HE masturbated profusely, and ejaculated a great deal. He was heavily influenced by Mandingo, almost to the point og plagiarism."

Trouble is, I can't find that text when I go to edit...the "Early Life" text appears to be there, but when I go back to see, the other stuff is still taking its place. --starfarmer 01:56, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Fixed by Jaderaid: [2] William M. Connolley 10:50, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

John Wallis section biased[edit]

Does anyone else think that the controversies section with Wallis uses non-neutral language?

e.g. "...a criticism which exposed the utter inadequacy of Hobbes's mathematics." "Hobbes's lack of rigour meant that he spent himself in vain attempts to solve the impossible problems that often waylaid self-sufficient beginners" "he never had any notion of the full scope of mathematical science. "He was unable to work out with any consistency the few original thoughts he had, and thus was an easy target." "Wallis had an easy task in defending himself against Hobbes's criticism..." "The thrusts were easily parried by Wallis in a reply (Hobbiani puncti dispunctio, 1657). Hobbes finally took refuge in silence and there was peace for a time."

And so on...

I'm a bit of a wiki-newbie, but a) it's an awful lot to be devoting to Wallis in a page about Hobbes, b) the language is clearly biased, c) it looks like it was all written by one person from on 1 June.

Should it just be deleted? 13:18, 10 June 2006 (UTC)Keith Ng

The only book on Hobbes I own is at work so I can't check, but my recollection is that Hobbes's mathematical theories were indeed very poor, and he spent a lot of time and energy defending them. That section could do with references, but I don't think it's one-sided. --ajn (talk) 15:06, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
The chronology in the OWC edition of Leviathan says Hobbes was "manifestly worsted" in the controversy with Wallis and Seth Ward. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy says he "entered into some unfortunate mathematical controversies by claiming he had squared the circle". Bertrand Russell, who I would have expected to mention the matter in his History of Western Philosophy, doesn't. --ajn (talk) 14:49, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

You might tone it down a bit but I think the general principal is fair: Hobbes's maths didn't fare well William M. Connolley 15:52, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Golden Rule[edit]

Hillel's golden rule was the golden rule in negation, just as you say was Hobbes' rule. Hillel came a good deal before Hobbes and therefore it is misleading to say that the Christian golden rule in negation is Hobbes' when in fact is it just that of Hillel and Judaism. Euroster 02:44, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

uh? Mikker (...) 21:32, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

I also think that the negative golden rule is a bit misleading, and it makes the "christian" rule seem to say that one SHOULD do to others what they don't want to themselves. Just my two cents ~Tyler~ 10 AM 26 October

I changed "Judaeo-Christian" to "Christian" today for that (Euroster's) reason, before I noticed this talk. "Positive" formulation is from NT, not Judaism. Sukkoth 19:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Splitting hairs between "positive" and "negative" versions of the Golden Rule is original research. The origin of the Golden Rule is not to be decided on a Wikipedia talk page. Certainly not to the extent that we remove any claim of Jewish influence on the Christian version. As the change was unsourced, I have reverted it to "Judeo-Christian". Kafziel Talk 20:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
The distinction between the positive and negative versions has been noted in Hobbes scholarship before, and so does not constitute original research. The Golden Rule, as normally stated, is positive (Hillel's articulation is not the source of the rule in the Anglophone world), and so it may be significant that Hobbes reversed that formulation. RJC Talk 23:26, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Kafziel, the point is not descriptions of origins. The labeling here is just not accurrate. "Judaeo-Christian" means, fairly closely, "Jewish and Christian". Thus, the article proposes to contrast Hobbes' formulation, that is, the "Do not do" phrasing, to the "Jewish and Christian" formulation, that is, the "Do" phrasing. Further, it does so with an opinion, accusing the latter of being a "recipe for social chaos". However, the "positve" phrasing is Christian, here is the source:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

(From this Wiki but very well known elsewhere). This does not exist in Jewish sources. Without getting into the topic of influences, etc, the Jewish version, with source is:

When he went to Hillel, Hillel said to him, 'What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn.' (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

This is essentially the same as Hobbes:

"Do not that to another, which thou wouldst not have done to thyself."

If this is nit-picking, then the whole topic should be removed, but it is explicitly inaccurrate to say that the Jewish form is the same as the Christian where that contrasts with Hobbes, especially if it is being set up for a derisive evaluation. This is not original research, it is a description of the well known record.

So, what do you say we call Christain "Christian" ? Sukkoth 17:41, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Christian is unambigously accurate wheras Judeo-Christian is doubtful. Seeing as the second formulation adds little of value the first should be used in an encyclopedia. How Hobbes' philosophy relates to Judaism is of marginal interest, how it relates to Christianity is plainly of the utmost importance. 16:14, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Reference citations[edit]

It seems to be a good article, but would very much benefit from the inclusion of several reference citations. Badbilltucker 15:45, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not a registered editor, so I can't change the article, but there is a section that could be better. In the 'Early life section' you can read " Hobbes later reported that "my mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear" with a reference to some dubious online biography. What Hobbes really wrote (in his verse autobiography) is ""my mother dear / Did bring forth twins at once, both me and fear". You can reference the autobiography itself. It can be found in E. Curley's ed. of Leviathan, 1994 Hackett edition, pages liv to lxiv (the quote is from liv). (----)


There's a lot of vandalsim on this page; I regret to say I was unable to fix it and I hope somebody else is able to. There's some stuff in the 'early life and education' portion of the article, but it doesn't appear when I try to edit. Returning to the article, it's still there. Bubble fish 14:56, 8 December 2006


The article Hobbesian should perhaps be merged into this one, or deleted, as it is now just an article about a word, and not about the actual topic the word defines. Or perhaps it could be redirected to Competition or some such place. I likely won't be back to this talk page, so someone else will have to decide. --Xyzzyplugh 13:04, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I've crated a redirect from it, as every word of it was already in this article.Merkinsmum 12:05, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Influences and Influenced[edit]

I have started a discussion regarding the Infobox Philosopher template page concerning the "influences" and "influenced" fields. I am in favor of doing away with them. Please join the discussion there. RJC Talk 14:09, 3 May 2007 (UTC)



The word "Hobbesian" is sometimes used in modern English to refer to a situation in which there is unrestrained, selfish, and uncivilised competition. This usage, now well-established, is misleading for two reasons: first, the Leviathan describes such a situation, but only in order to criticise it; second, Hobbes himself was timid and bookish in person. Other uses, popular immediately after Hobbes published, carry connotations of atheism and the belief that "might makes right."

Umm why is this misleading? The word Hobbesian is used because it refers to Hobbes' ideas. I doubt anyone thinks it was coined because Hobbes was like this. Or because he proposed that this was a good thing. I think the paragraph should be removed or rewritten. Disco 02:41, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree, as I read the section I thought: "These aren't good reasons at all". I will see what I can do to improve the section. I might remove it entirely. Squishycube 11:48, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

No section on his religious attitudes?[edit]

Copied from Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 August 12 for adaptation. --Ghirla-трёп- 15:29, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Can Thomas Hobbes properly be considered as an atheist? Martinben 19:55, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

No. He was accused of being one, but he certainly denied it. If he denied it, it's hardly proper for any of us to say that he didn't know what he believed. Is his political science atheistic? Well, it's a-theistic but not anti-theistic, and, ultimately, it's as based on the assumptions and paradigms of divinely appointed rulers as anything Thomas Filmer argued. Geogre 02:44, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, many of his contemporaries certainly thought so. In October 1666 a committee of the House of Commons was empowered to examine the views expressed in Leviathan as part of the preparations for a bill intended to make hereesy a crime. Some even went so far as to suggest that Hobbes' doctrines were responsible for the Great Fire of London! His books were either banned or burnt, and the Catholic church placed De Cive on its Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1654. He was regularly attacked in the press of the day, which delighted in detailing the torments he would suffer in the after-life for his apparent lack of belief. It was his rationalism and materialism that tended to disturb people most; even God is reduced to a material level. Archbishop Tenison was to say of him "Yet for the very handsomeness in dressing his Opinions, as the matter stands, he is to be reproved; because by that means, the poyson which he hath intermixed with them is with the more readiness and danger swallowed." His views were certainly unsettling in an age not noted for latitude in matters of faith and belief: that there was no personal Satan; that the Pentateuch and many other books of the Bible were revisions or compilations from earlier sources; that few miracles could be credited after the Testament period; that witchcraft was a myth; and that religion was often confused with superstition. He was, as one writer has noted, 'anti-ecclesiastical, anti-clerical, anti-enthusiastic, anti-theology, anti-creeds and anti-inspiration.'

So, was he an atheist? All I can really say here is that the evidence suggests not; and in his personal life he adhered to the Anglican Church, which, in any case, was for him a necessary instrument of Leviathan. He believed in God as First Cause, but denied most of the manifestations and attributes accorded to Him by organised religion; even holiness, goodness and blessedness, which in the Hobbesian view are all unknowable facts. His God, such as He is, is distant, cold, intellectual amd essentially unknowable. What did he really believe? That is a question that can only be answered by God, and by Hobbes! Clio the Muse 02:59, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

To be annoying and bring up semantics, no one seems to have called themselves atheist at the time. Baron d'Holbach is often quoted as being the first self-described atheist (or one of them, according to his article) in 1770. Before that, during Hobbes's lifetime, and since its coinage in 16th century France, the word athéisme seems to have been used almost exclusively as an accusation for all sorts of perceived threats to established beliefs, not as a self-attribution. See the article on history of atheism. ---Sluzzelin talk 06:08, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
There would have been clear risks in doing so, Sluzzelin, when Hobbes was alive; more risky, I have to say, in some parts of the the British Isles than in others. Clio the Muse 07:28, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Stephen Greenblatt makes the argument, in "Invisible Bullets," that it was "impossible" to say that one was an atheist (this swings on the hinge of Foucault's ideas of an epistem), that the concept simply existed as an attribute of the other only. The argument is hyperbolic, but it's not entirely baseless. This argument that it can only be an Other is, I think, shaky and a bit precious. We're being asked whether Hobbes fits a contemporary category, and we're actually all concluding that he doesn't. It is possible that he couldn't have fit it, but there were enough who were utterly silent about their religion who seem to have no faith at all, where Hobbes himself professed faith, albeit a highly aggravating and intellectual faith. Geogre 12:18, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

All this seems pretty odd, based on reading Leviathan, where Hobbes very clearly has religious views, even if they were unorthodox. He can't possibly be called an atheist, unless there is some very good evidence from elsewhere that what he wrote in Leviathan was all a cover up. How for example can you parse So that it is manifest that the teaching of the religion which God hath established, and the showing of a present miracle, joined together, were the only marks whereby the Scripture would have a true prophet. any other way? William M. Connolley 21:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, we don't have to decide the issue of Hobbes' faith. It suffices to say that a large portion of the scholarly literature on him, perhaps even the majority, doubts that he was simply heterodox. How to discuss his religious views in an encyclopedia entry without turning it into a lit review is a different matter. But I think you and I have had this conversation (over a year ago, if I recall). RJC Talk 01:36, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Hobbes idea is strongly opposed to that of Locke and Rousseau.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:59, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

The Cavendish family[edit]

There is a problem in the "Early life and education" section: Hobbes was the tutor of William Cavendish, 2nd earl of Devonshire, son of William Cavendish, 1st earl of Devonshire. When you click on this name, you are redirected to William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire. But Hobbes cannot make the Grand Tour in Europe in 1610, with a man who is born in 1617... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:51, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

You might mention the fact that he dines, courtesy of the Jesuits at the English College, Rome on 26 December 1635 with the young Earl of Devonshire; first published in Edward Chaney, The Grand Tour and the Great Rebellion, Geneva-Turin, 1985, pp. 301-03. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:28, 27 September 2011 (UTC)


The "In popular culture" section is a waste.Lestrade (talk) 22:15, 28 December 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

The Calvin and Hobbes bit is worth having. The rest isn't. William M. Connolley (talk) 22:26, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I would say that the whole section needs to go--regardless of whether it can be referenced or not. There have to be millions of references to Thomas Hobbes in our culture, but we don't need to place each one (or even 1% of them) into this article. In popular culture sections tend to attract loads of article-irrelevant crud. The sooner the section is deleted the better.--Mumia-w-18 (talk) 22:50, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


I am making some edits to the Leviathan section of the article to bring it into line with Wikipedia:Summary style. I think the article could be vastly improved if the section on Leviathan were supplemented with some on the Elements of Law and De Cive, but I think that someone else would have to take the lead on that. RJC Talk 03:39, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

I just tried adding a link to a rather unique version of The Leviathan that includes an introductory essay with thoughtful hypertext commentary on several important sections and allows other site visitors to create a login and add their own thoughts/commentary as well. ( Does anyone have a problem with my adding that link? Why was it deleted? Sorry if I stepped on any toes by just adding the link, but I've posted to talk pages before an no one has ever responded. Andrewmagliozzi (talk) 19:20, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

With regards to this link, please see the existing discussions and review at User talk:Andrewmagliozzi. --Ckatzchatspy 19:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Please consider adding the following external link, which tracks available digital books of Hobbes:

The external links section of this article is already very detailed. Which I think is a good thing for an old author like this (I am one editor who has spent time on this), but it does mean we need to avoid redundant links. The link suggested immediately above gives a webpage that links further to Hobbes' works at places like google books. Actually we already have that in a more direct way. The difference is that we linked to, which is more accessible than google books to readers outside the US.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:29, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Epistemology and metaphysics[edit]

This article needs a section on Hobbes' epistemology and metaphysics. -- (talk) 16:25, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Spanish Armada...[edit]

In the first paragraph of the biography it says that Hobbes' mother heard the Spanish Armada and then there is a parenthehical description that the Spanish Armada was a fleet of Spanish ships. Is this really necessary? I think the Spanish Armada is a pretty well-known term, as well as being self-explanatory. Why not just put Spanish Armada as a wikilink? DruidODurham (talk) 21:53, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Very well then. Be bold and fix it! ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 14:38, 21 April 2008 (UTC)


There seems to be a lot of anon vandalism of this page, so I've semi-ed it. But I'm also having an edit war myself. So if any admin wants to revoke the prot, please do William M. Connolley (talk) 07:30, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Place of birth[edit]

Hobbes, he was born in Gloucestershire, was he not? Gloucestershire is fairly close to Wiltshire. I have a source that says this, anyway.

republican hobbes[edit]

why did you removed "republican" from hobbes page? some arguments? --discourseur 23:00, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Because he wasn't (no argument was given for the words inclusion). If anything, he was a monarchist, although Leviathan is technically neutral as to what form of sovereign is best. That means describing his theories as republican goes against my idea of what the word means... having just read the wikilinks Advocates of a republic, a form of government based on the rule of laws, not a monarchy or dictatorship I have a hard time making sense of it. Monarchy is based on the rule of law (or can be) and in Hobbes view there is no difference between monarchy and dictatorship William M. Connolley (talk) 23:10, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
you misunderstand classical republicanism with modern republicanism. see further into article on republicanism and you will see hobbes there. in classical republicanism monarchy was one of the form of government upon political community i.e. republic or commonwealth. leviathan is abut origins and functioning of the commonwealth that is republic. also social contract is republicanism per se. see this and this. --discourseur 23:22, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what you're referring to. Not Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against monarchy; the opposite of monarchism, obviously. Could you give a more exact ref, please William M. Connolley (talk) 23:25, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
look. there is whole school about how concepts and terms change their meaning over the time - conceptual history. and one of the most important change was after french revolution. look at civil society, it changed its meaning twice. so is republicanism - the classical one is something different than modern. look also at central to classical republicanism idea of mixed government - that is a hassle. --discourseur 23:43, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
I think you're veering off towards OR. At any rate, this discussion should be at t:TH William M. Connolley (talk) 07:13, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
well it is rather yor intervension that is OR. in a title of leviathan you have word commonwealth. this is english translation of republica. no research needed --discourseur 07:22, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Please learn to indent properly, and the odd capital would be nice too. Commonwealth is not a translation of repulic(a), though the concepts are related. More particularly, if all this etymology is needed to make sense of the link then its bare presence is misleading. As I said, all this argument should be on the article talk page, not here William M. Connolley (talk) 07:27, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
oh please. check first dictionary see. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Discourseur (talkcontribs) 07:35, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

moving on demand disscusion from personal page --discourseur 13:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Request William M. Connolley (talk) 19:06, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

assuming that no further argumentation means no arguments against republicanism i will include it back. --discourseur 14:09, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

That is at best a questionable assumption, especially as discussion ceased once you began insulting the other person. From WP:OR: "anyone—without specialist knowledge—who reads the primary source should be able to verify that the Wikipedia passage agrees with the primary source. Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation." Find a secondary source that supports calling Hobbes a "republican." RJC Talk Contribs 15:01, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
as said above, pity of your laziness, see this and this. --discourseur 15:08, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, although it's hardly lazy of me not to do the research you have to do. Try to at least make an attempt regarding your tone. Sullivan's book acknowledges that hers is the minority position; Rahe's makes it clear that Hobbes was at best an ambivalent supporter of the Commonwealth. I'd be interested to know if Rahe says that Hobbes was a friend of that form of government, though, instead of the support Hobbes says that all people must give to governments in power — not because of who they are, but because they are there. Neither supports the blithe association of Hobbes with republicanism, without further ado. RJC Talk Contribs 15:17, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
so that means that with further ado they associate hobbes with republicanism. britain was alway commonwealth and monarchy at the same time. there is no reason to assume that hobbes thought differently. --discourseur 15:36, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
As a native speaker of English, I will say that when any modern English-speaker uses the word "commonwealth," especially when referring to the English system of government following the execution of Charles I, we cannot assume that they mean "republic," as well, even if some occasionally do. Hobbes said to support whatever government you are under, but that absolute monarchy would be best. Whatever version of mixed government or limited monarchy some of the republicans might have supported (the Commonwealthmen were explicitly opposed to monarchy), they were opposed to absolute monarchy. RJC Talk Contribs 16:19, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
i didn't put england but britain. again i will repeat: britain was always the commonwealth and monarchy at the same time - till today. second there were no king in england after execution of charles only because cromwell did not want to take the crown offered to him. third charles was not the first king of england that was beheaded. --discourseur 16:51, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
There was no Kingdom of Great Britain when Hobbes wrote. In between the execution of Charles I and Cromwell's Protectorate, there was a Commonwealth of England. And none of your points addresses the question: who says that Thomas Hobbes, advocate of absolute monarchy and the bugbear of republicans, held republican ideas? I think it is time we seek mediation. RJC Talk Contribs 17:10, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
as pointed twice above, see this and this. you don't follow argument. example of britain shows there were never distiction between commonwealth and monarchy there. there is no argument, and you did not give a one, that hobbes thought in different way about england. --discourseur 17:27, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In my very personal view, Leviathan is commonweal obviously. Hobbes writing De Corpore Politico was republican in 100%. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:23, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
  • there is one more thing. republic is not a form of government. it is kind of community i.e. political community. classical republicanism distinguished three basic forms of government: of one - monarchy, of few - aristocracy, and of all - democracy. and there were mixed government. but republic, commonweal was not a government itself. upon such a community there should be established government - and dispute was which. but republic was not ever conquested even by monarchomachs. --discourseur 23:44, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a reliable source. If a republic were not a form of government, how could all those republicans have thought themselves in favor of a particular form of government? Why was republicanism suppressed as revolutionary? Please cease it with this original research into what republicanism is and is not. RJC Talk Contribs 00:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
it is simple. because they used idea of revolution in different way than you. in classical meaning revolution meant restitution of former proper order. you may find it in berman or koselleck. --discourseur 09:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
They were considered revolutionaries by people who used the modern meaning of revolution. In fact, I think you're making that up. The Oxford English Dictionary does not list that as even an archaic definition of "revolution." My Ph.D. is in political science and I am a native speaker of English: please trust me that you are wrong about how to use "republican" in Enlish. RJC Talk Contribs 13:57, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
so explain please, why hobbes uses a term 'commonwealth' almost on every page and above all in the title of leviathan? --discourseur 14:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
We've already been over the fact that "commonwealth" is not simply synonymous with "republic." Please understand if I do not pursue this argument with you any further. RJC Talk Contribs 20:22, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
oh please answer the question, regarding your english phd you should know. --discourseur 20:36, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Just to noe, as a British citizen, Commonwealth as used in British English is certainly not synonomous with Republic.Yobmod (talk) 11:07, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

RfC Republicanism[edit]

  • a way a question on RfC list is posed i far from objectivism, while being sugessting and manipulative: Are there sufficient reliable, secondary sources to warrant calling Thomas Hobbes a classical republican?. the question should sound pros and cons to call hobbes republican --discourseur 20:46, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
  • RfC: What is a "classical republican"? It means he was alive juring the classical period of history? Does it have a definition different from simple "republican"? Does it mean member of the Republican party, or is used in the general sense meaning anti-monarchy? Unless the article can answer all of these (inline or with wiki links), then it is both ambiguous and confusing to call him so. Being a christian and pro-democracy doesn't make one a "Christian Democrat" in Germany, having some ideas that fit with republicanism does not make one a republican if one is still pro-monarchy.Yobmod (talk) 11:02, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism Issues[edit]

Why are so many people vandalizing the Hobbes article using inappropriate laanguage? We really should crack down on vandalism on this article. ~~Dasta Lover 6~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:25, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Hobbes-Wallis controversy[edit]

I think Hobbes-Wallis controversy should be split out as a separate article. In simple terms, the reputation of Hobbes doesn't depend on that debate (and it shows him at his worst); the details shouldn't dominate this article, since it is not that important to him as philosopher as currently understood. Charles Matthews (talk) 08:39, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

documentary hypothesis[edit]

In the Wiki documentary hypothesis article Thomas Hobbes, in chapter 33 of Leviathan, concluded that the first five books of the Bible could not have been written by Moses. This is one of the earliest attacks on the idea that they had been dictated by G-d to Moses. Might be nice to add this but I'm not sure where it would best fit. Nitpyck (talk) 02:43, 26 February 2009 (UTC)


What were his contributions to geometry? It's mentioned in the introduction but nowhere else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:43, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Hobbes-Wallis_controversy suggests "nothing lasting" William M. Connolley (talk) 09:00, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

The First Counter-revolutionary[edit]

Read an article over at [3] and was thinking of placing it somewhere within the article as it seems to be quite a decent summary (it is for a book review though so not sure how suitable it is). Anyone that is an expert in this field feel free to place it (or not) as you see fit. Cheers!Calaka (talk) 07:51, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Contradiction: Elsevier press in 1646?[edit]

...De Cive was republished... The printing began in 1646 by Samuel de Sorbiere through the Elsevier press at Amsterdam...

However, according to Elsevier, the company was only founded in 1880, over 200 years later!

Top.Squark (talk) 14:03, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

I removed the tag. The E article says Elsevier took its name from the Dutch publishing house, but which had no connection with the present company. The Elzevir family operated as booksellers and publishers in the Netherlands. Its founder, Lodewijk Elzevir, (1542–1617) lived in Leiden and established the business in 1580. William M. Connolley (talk) 22:57, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Also, why the tag in From the time of the Restoration he acquired a new prominence; "Hobbism" became a fashionable creed which it was the duty of "every lover of true morality and religion" to denounce[contradiction]. I fail to see the contradiction William M. Connolley (talk) 22:58, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Vague: every lover of true morality and religion[edit]

"Hobbism" became a fashionable creed which it was the duty of "every lover of true morality and religion" to denounce.

What is meant by "every lover of true morality and religion"? I guess the meaning is ironic rather than literal? What does it take for someone to qualify as such? Who determined it was the "duty" of these "lovers" and how?

Top.Squark (talk) 16:22, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Those were the phrasings of the times. If you don't understand, perhaps it would be better for you to try editing an article that you do understand William M. Connolley (talk) 21:06, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
William, your constant reverting of my "vague" tag amounts to an edit war and is clearly contrary to Wikipedia policy. However, since I try to approach the manner in good spirit, I replaced the "vague" tag by a more objective "citation needed" tag. Your attempt to reference my "understanding" is a personal insult and is completely out of line. Top.Squark (talk) 09:45, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I think you're being silly. This would be another one of those rather common "one sided edit wars" would it, where you are entirely innocent but the other party is clearly "edit warring"? We have a dispute between us about the need for the tag; please don't try to solve it in this heavy handed and invalid fashion. I don't see how your cn tag is going to improve the article; but it can stay for a while William M. Connolley (talk) 10:13, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
And I see you're not very keen to talk about this [4] William M. Connolley (talk) 10:21, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think there is a problem with vagueness, but it is a direct quotation from the 1910 Encyclopedia Britannica [5] where the phrase is not quoted but simply stated as fact. I don't think WP:NPOV permits us to declare what lovers of the true religion ought to think about Hobbes, however. If it turned out to be a quotation from one of those who denounced Hobbes I could see keeping it, but as it turns out it is unencyclopedic in tone. RJC TalkContribs 14:29, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Pending changes[edit]

This article is one of a number selected for the early stage of the trial of the Wikipedia:Pending Changes system on the English language Wikipedia. All the articles listed at Wikipedia:Pending changes/Queue are being considered for level 1 pending changes protection.

The following request appears on that page:

Comments on the suitability of theis page for "Pending changes" would be appreciated.

Please update the Queue page as appropriate.

Note that I am not involved in this project any much more than any other editor, just posting these notes since it is quite a big change, potentially

Regards, Rich Farmbrough, 00:22, 17 June 2010 (UTC).


Re [6]. Hobbes doesn't like rebellion (because the nature of this offence, consisteth in the renouncing of subjection; which is a relapse into the condition of warre, commonly called Rebellion; and they that so offend, suffer not as Subjects, but as Enemies. For Rebellion, is but warre renewed. for example [7]; and "Want Of Absolute Power" is one of the errors that may lead to dissolution of a commonwealth). OTOH there is also Having thus briefly spoken of the Naturall Kingdome of God, and his Naturall Lawes, I will adde onely to this Chapter a short declaration of his Naturall Punishments... it comes to passe, that Intemperance, is naturally punished with Diseases; Rashnesse, with Mischances; Injustice, with the Violence of Enemies; Pride, with Ruine; Cowardise, with Oppression; Negligent government of Princes, with Rebellion; and Rebellion, with Slaughter. So that looks like rebellion excused under some circumstances. But the best expression of that is "In What Cases Subjects Absolved Of Their Obedience To Their Soveraign" which has The Obligation of Subjects to the Soveraign is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth, by which he is able to protect them - which can be interpreted as rebellion is justified under severe abuse, and as long as you can get away with it William M. Connolley (talk) 08:10, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

File:Thomas Hobbes (portrait).jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Questioning new legacy section added: undue comparison to one modern author?[edit]

I have removed this new section for discussion first. The idea of a legacy section sounds OK, but this actually seems to be enitrely about one modern author. Consider WP:UNDUE.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:51, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

==Legacy and influence in contemporary thought== Hobbes' work has had profound influence in modern political, philosophical, and legal thought.<ref>{{cite web|title=Hobbes: Moral and Political Philosophy|url=}}</ref><ref>Duncan, Stewart, "Thomas Hobbes", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)</ref><ref>Dyzenhaus, David. 2001. "Hobbes and the Legitimacy of Law." Law and Philosophy 20 (September): 461–8.</ref><ref>Martinich, A.P. 1999. Hobbes: A Biography. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.</ref> The closest contemporary equivalent to his work is in the writings of philosopher and social and legal theorist [[Roberto Mangabeira Unger]].<ref>Dunn, J. 1986. “Unger’s Politics and the Appraisal of Political Possibility.” Nw. UL Rev. 81</ref><ref>Boyle, James. 1985. “Modernist Social Theory: Roberto Unger’s ‘Passion’.” Harvard Law Review 98 (5) (March 1): 1066–1083.</ref> Unger has conversed with and grappled with Hobbes in his writings on political and social order,<ref>Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. 1975. Knowledge & Politics. New York: Free Press.</ref> law,<ref>Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. 1976. Law in Modern Society: Toward a Criticism of Social Theory. New York: Free Press.</ref> and the self.<ref>Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. 1984. [[Passion: An Essay on Personality]]. New York: Free Press.</ref> Like Hobbes, Unger puts politics at the center of his view of humanity, and embeds his political and social thought in a broader account of our place in nature. Both Hobbes and Unger envision an intransigently naturalistic account of the human condition.<ref>Dunn, J. 1986. “Unger’s Politics and the Appraisal of Political Possibility.” Nw. UL Rev. 81</ref><ref>Boyle, James. 1985. “Modernist Social Theory: Roberto Unger’s ‘Passion’.” Harvard Law Review 98 (5) (March 1): 1066–1083.</ref> Similar to Hobbes, Unger sees the arrangements or structures of society as frozen politics--the outcome a relative containment or a temporary suspension of strife over the terms of social life. They can be returned at any moment through renewed conflict, to our primordial condition of fluidity, anguish, and aspiration. No one social order stands definitively for the possibilities of social life.<ref>Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. 1987. False Necessity: Anti-necessitarian Social Theory in the Service of Radical Democracy. Politics, a Work in Constructive Social Theory. London: Verso.</ref> There is nevertheless also a profound difference between these thinkers that centers around revolutionary projects of political and personal liberation -- liberalism, socialism, democracy, and romanticism -- that have aroused the world since Hobbes's time but are utterly alien to his way of thinking.<ref>Yack, Bernard. 1988. “Review: Toward a Free Marketplace of Social Institutions: Roberto Unger’s ‘Super-Liberal’ Theory of Emancipation.” Harvard Law Review 101 (8) (June 1): 1961–1977.</ref><ref>Boyle, James. 1985. “Modernist Social Theory: Roberto Unger’s ‘Passion’.” Harvard Law Review 98 (5) (March 1): 1066–1083.</ref> For Unger, our hope of ascent to a greater life rests on our nature as context-shaped but context-transcending beings who can turn the tables on their circumstances and transform the social and conceptual worlds in which they find themselves. Through such reconstruction, hope rises over fear, which was for Hobbes was the most powerful political sentiment.<ref>Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. 2007. The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.</ref><ref>Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. 1984. [[Passion: An Essay on Personality]]. New York: Free Press.</ref>

And that author also happens to be a politician. I think you're right William M. Connolley (talk) 14:00, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Your concerns are legitimate. However, rather than removing the section and content, it should be our task as Wikipedia editors to add to it. I cited relevant sources on the influence of Hobbes' thought, and outlined how that worked in reference to one thinker, who has been cited as the closest contemporary equivalent to Hobbes. Indeed, if there is one thinker who should be cited in the legacy of Hobbes it is Unger! (Unger is politician in the same way that JS Mill was a politician. That is to say, he is first a philosopher who has an idea about the social world and goes into politics to enact it.) I thus suggest letting the section and content stand--it is well referenced enough to legitimize the content and claims as the torch bearer of Hobbes' thought, and the section can be added to by other editors.
My response to the WP:UNDUE is as follows: the guideline stated refers specifically to articles (rather than sections of articles). I do not think the article suffers from this defect. Similarly, the section is not unbalanced as a discussion of the legacy of Hobbes' thought, for it is not just one viewpoint on Hobbes' influence, but rather a very pertinent example of his influence. This should stand as a compliment to the article as a whole. Archivingcontext (talk) 04:05, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
That doesn't answer any of the concerns raised William M. Connolley (talk) 07:15, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
I think that this section as it currently stands is not good enough, because the section is completely unbalanced, giving the impression that Unger is the most important legacy of Hobbes today. (Indeed that seems to be what Archivingcontext thinks?) But I'd guess that 100s of 20th and 21st century figures could be cited as having been called the main representatives of the legacy of Hobbes in their time? Concerning the policy issue cited, I think WP:UNDUE is intended to apply to all aspects of WP content. Perhaps another policy or guideline to cite here might be WP:DEADLINE? In other words there is no rush to include an imbalanced section. There is nothing stopping us developing a better legacy section over weeks, months or years, in order to try to reach WP:CONSENSUS.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:27, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Having looked at a couple of AC's other edits, I think I can see a pattern. [8], [9], Marginalism, as well as probable sock issues William M. Connolley (talk) 08:42, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

As I see it, there are three concerns here, that of balance, that of relevance, and my motivations.

  1. Balance. The section is meant to be about legacy and modern influence. The balance then should be about making that case--that Hobbes has influenced modern Western thought. In my estimation it does that even if it is relying only on the most relevant thinker to take up the thought/project of Hobbes.
  2. Relevance. I do think Unger is the most important thinker of the Hobbes legacy (I might even make the argument that he is the most important thinker of the 20th and 21st centuries). But what is important here is that I have inserted the necessary references to back this up. It is not just my random worthless opinion, but that of many scholars greater than I who have published in accredited and refereed journals saying as much. Similarly, I have yet to find such scholarship pointing to other contemporary thinkers in the same way. If I do, then I will include it.
  3. My editing pattern. I happen to be working now on the content and development of the thought of RMU, and given both the volume and breadth of his work, he is appositely relevant to many of the existing Wiki articles. Given that I have the knowledge of the work, as well as the references at hand, I thought it a service to include such entries in the relevant pages.

So I am kind of at a loss at the opposition. With the necessary references to point to this as a main trend in the philosophical discipline, it seems worthy to include in an article about Hobbes and his thought. Even if others find it incomplete, this seems to lend itself to view two of the WP:DEADLINE guideline cited above: don't rush to delete! Archivingcontext (talk) 12:35, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

I happen to be working now on the content and development of the thought of RMU - but you do essentially nothing else. Passions (philosophy) looks dodgy, too. You're putting too much effort into boostering one not-very-well-known philosopher-politician William M. Connolley (talk) 13:37, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Three paragraphs on an obscure politician seems excessive. Hobbes is one of the seminal figures in Western philosophy. Giving everyone else their due, proportionally increased to their importance, would make the legacy section a multivolume series. Any mention of this fellow seems to give him undue weight when the proper subject of a Legacy section is Locke, Rousseau, Oakeshotte, Schmitt, etc. RJC TalkContribs 14:17, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

The content is indeed limited in scope but at least it is something. The critiques here are valid and yet I consider the contributing editor "the man in the arena", working in good faith and following citation requirements (and he did label the section as contemporary thought). A key question becomes: are we criticizing editors ready to jump in and go to work on expanding this section? Or are we content to just point the finger? ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 15:24, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Doing it right would take a lot of work, especially as Hobbes's influence gets debated, for example, regarding Locke. The point is to get the article in conformity with policy. If the only way to do so that imposes a reasonable workload is to remove the material, that is the way forward, even if not the ultimate goal. RJC TalkContribs 15:48, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Given the concern with the immediate legacy of Hobbes, perhaps an agreeable solution is to remove the "legacy" header so that the section is only identified as one of influence in contemporary thought. The idea here is to show how Hobbes has informed contemporary philosophy and social theory. As laid out in the content and cited in the references, Unger has been discussed in just such a way and is considered the most relevant. Archivingcontext (talk) 14:01, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Michael Oakeshott and Carl Schmitt stand out as larger figures influenced by Hobbes. Changing the title of the section doesn't speak to the question of whether three paragraphs on Unger gives him undue weight. RJC TalkContribs 19:42, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

In order to reach consensus on this matter can I propose the inclusion of other contemporary thinkers and a shortening of the Unger material? In accordance with WP:DEADLINE, and in agreement with Alcmaeonid, there is no need to delete sections and material, but rather to improve them over time. I think that this article deserves a section on Hobbes' legacy and influences among contemporary thinkers and the trajectory of his ideas. I agree with the inclusion of Oakeshott and Schmitt, and maybe also a few sentences or graph on contemporary legal theory (Strauss' scholarship on Hobbes may be useful in this endeavor). Can we move forward with this initiative? Archivingcontext (talk) 02:30, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Put a proposed text onto talk, here William M. Connolley (talk) 07:22, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Missing Section about his thought[edit]

Being such an important thinker, it is strange that this article lacks a proper section about his thoughts, as there are in so many other philosophers’ pages in the Wikipedia. --CalaClii (talk) 16:15, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes I suppose you have a point. We have a section on his most famous book, and in a sense it is filling this role. But the article could handle an attempt to explain the common themes of the man's work.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:54, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Though on rational grounds a champion of absolutism for the sovereign, Hobbes also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men[edit]


Though on rational grounds a champion of absolutism for the sovereign, Hobbes also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men

is fairly dubious:

  • absolutism for the sovereign is OK, but it is linked to Absolute monarchy, which is wrong
  • the natural equality of all men is wrong - Hobbes says (paraphrase) not that all men are equal, but that the inequalities are not so large that any man can rule (e.g. by brute strength) without law
  • the right of the individual - this isn't very Hobbes-y. In fact he's clear that the Sovereign can stomp on any individual

William M. Connolley (talk) 18:28, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

A quick response, so maybe not perfect. First a general point: the sentence is perhaps more misleading than strictly incorrect, because the verb is "developed" which can be interpreted in different ways. A quick fix might be to work on a good verb for that position. The word "influenced" comes to mind, but it is vague and over-used.
  • Yes, not sure if we have a different link we could use. I guess the link is useful for readers seeking help, but indeed not strictly correct. (And here even influence is slightly over-rated, as the monarchy agenda was pre-Hobbes.)
  • Again yes. I suppose Hobbes is nevertheless a major source of the proposal that we can in practice act as if? Still, one problem here is that Hobbes would be judging right in terms of what can be done by force, which is not what modern readers will be thinking. This is even more relevant in the next one...
  • Yes, although Hobbes does use words like this? But for him might makes right which is not what "human rights" are about to modern readers.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:06, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I had another thought about this paragraph. Isn't the word "Though" a non-NPOV (and arguably ahistorical) inclusion, since it communicates the assumption that absolutism and European liberal thought do not normally go together? Elcalebo (talk) 16:59, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

They might be historically and philosophically linked in many ways indeed, but still, there are normally two separate things distinguished.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:22, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, but that "normal" is dominant ideology, not the neutrality an encyclopedia should aim for, right? Elcalebo (talk) 12:56, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, calling something an ideology is not a neutral description, and trying to decide if something is an ideology is the kind of value judgement WP's neutrality policy gets around by ignoring (for better or worse). What we do instead is try to determine what published sources say, and specifically, published sources which we would reasonably expect to be most reliable in the particular subject we are looking at. This does mean that if an entire discipline has a shared ideology we tend to be forced to represent that. Wikipedia is not the place to change the world, just a place to summarize what is published. Of course in cases where there are also published criticisms, we can also make sure we mention that for balance. Coming back to the case in point though, are you really saying modern European absolutism and modern European liberalism are the SAME (not just closed inter related in terms of how they came about, and how they evolve)? That seems a rather extreme position and I wonder if any serious publication takes that position?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:35, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
No, I'm not saying they're the same - just what you said; closely inter related in terms of how they came about, and how they evolve. In my mind, "though" doesn't really give the impression of "These are two things which can be distinguished, but they're often linked in theory and practice" so much as "This is a paradox; these two things are normally diametrically opposed." My concern is that from within liberal democracy we tend to forget or downplay the darker history of liberalism and democracy (and I think you can identify such a tendency pretty confidently and neutrally, though perhaps you'd have to forgo the strong language of 'ideology'). So "though" seems like a non-neutral concession to this kind of bias - it implies this is a strange and distinctive feature about Hobbes, like he's an exception; rather than implying this is a common tendency among such figures, Rousseau for example; or just avoiding any statement or implication about whether this is strange and unique to Hobbes or not. But you do raise good points; if that is indeed Wiki policy, and that is indeed the way the field explains it, it's hard to know how it could be stated differently (and even if a whole field of Western academia is characterized by a shared ideology, it's hard to make the case that one or two Wikipedia editors are a more reliable guide). I am glad that the connection is being pointed out with Hobbes, even if I don't like how it's stated in such a way as to potentially imply he's an exception. 2602:306:CDB5:EFA0:643D:F7B3:C987:F02B (talk) 12:32, 10 April 2015 (UTC)


I noticed from reading the article that there should be more citations in the following subjects: Civil war in England, Opposition, and Later Life.
Though I will admit that the whole article could use better citing. -- Orduin T 21:29, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 20 December 2014[edit]

Dear all,

I would like to bring your attention to the Bibliographic ressources/Works by Hobbes/Complete Editions/The English Works/Volume 4 section.

As can be checked simply by referring to the link currently held ( for Volume 4 (table of content), you can see that Consideration upon the Reputation, Loyalty, Manners and Religion of Thomas Hobbes is a different heading from An Historical Narration concerning Heresy, and the Punishment thereof

Could you please amend the wikipedia page to reflect this?

Thank you in advance, Best,


RFLGirard (talk) 23:58, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

@RFLGirard: Yes check.svg Done as requested with Special:Diff/639005377. Thank you for your contributions. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 05:01, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Hobbes was not pro liberty[edit]

The article is nonsense. Thomas Hobbes did not believe in the "rights of the individual" or that government should be "based on consent" - or he hopelessly twisted these terms utterly transforming their traditional meaning. Thomas Hobbes taught that humans were not persons, that we are fresh robots incapable of moral choice, and that, consequently, we have no moral right or duties. Thomas Hobbes taught that there was no moral duty to defend someone who was attacked by the state or buy private criminals, and that there was no difference between human freedom and the "freedom" of water after a dam has been blown up - not moral freedom (moral choice - natural justice), just "freedom" as an absence of external restraint. There is no moral reason to be in favor of such freedom - and Hobbes was not in favor of freedom. (talk) 14:45, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

The real Thomas Hobbes[edit]

Thomas Hobbes was not in favor of traditional natural justice under natural law (the rights of the individual - as we would put it) he radically transformed these terms emptying them of their traditional meaning. Hobbes taught that the state could do anything the ruler or rulers wanted to do (the idea that he supported government "by consent" does violence to the normal meaning of the word "consent") and that "law" was simply the arbitrary will of the ruler or rulers - that there was no natural law or natural justice as traditionally understood. To identify Thomas Hobbes as giving useful ideas to the liberal tradition is absurd. (talk) 14:53, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

This article is false[edit]

The article is false - in key respects just about the opposite of the real Thomas Hobbes.

Thomas Hobbes actually held that humans were not moral agents. That we had no ability to tell moral right from moral wrong (only pleasure and pain) and no free will to choose between right and wrong even if we could know the difference, with all our actions being predetermined (as if we were pre programmed flesh robots - not people).

Far from being the inventor of "social contract theory" (an ancient idea), Thomas Hobbes actually radically subverted it, by eliminating any real CONSENT.

Also far from being a supporter of natural law or natural rights - Thomas Hobbes emptied these concepts of all moral content.

The real Thomas Hobbes was a supporter of tyranny (a total and unlimited state), to associate him with Classical Liberalism makes as much sense as associating the Emperor Diocletian or Louis XIV of France with Classical Liberalism.

It is difficult to believe that anyone could be so utterly ignorant as to write an article such as this one on Thomas Hobbes. Therefore I suspect, indeed I formally charge, whoever wrote the article with deliberate dishonesty - with the conscious intent of misleading readers. (talk) 17:52, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Two things: First, do make sure to put your talk page comments on the bottom of the talk page. This ensures that we're all reading them in the same way. Secondly, if you take issue with how this subject is presented, I encourage you to present your own reliable sources that support your view. As it stands now, the article is well-sourced and if you wish to change it, you must bring these reliable sources with you. I encourage you to make all the changes you want, provided they can be supported by mainstream reliable sources. SinglePurposePartier (talk) 18:13, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

John Locke[edit]

I've removed the section on Locke, because it appears to me to be junk. Looking back, I find it was added by Meshnoy not long ago ([}). I don't think there's any reason to tart it up and replace it: it doesn't fit: the section is for at-the-time opposition, not for anyone who subsequently disagree with Hobbes.

Hobbes explained that our forefathers lived in an anarchy, which he believed to be a state of nature. He said that people chose a leader to rule them; making an unwritten social contract, giving the leader absolute power. The people kept only the power to protect their own lives. Hobbes was strongly influenced by the chaos and destruction caused by the English Civil War. The ideas Hobbes expressed in Leviathan reflected his belief that people acted from self-interest and without regard for other people. In Hobbes's view, the natural world was a place where only the strong would survive unless order was imposed by a greater power of a ruler or leader. The social contract Hobbes described was based on the exchange of individual liberty for group safety and order.
John Locke, another philosopher, disagreed. He accepted the idea of the social contract but believed that people had given up only some of their individual rights. Among those they kept were the rights to live, to enjoy liberty, and to own property. Locke said the people expected their ruler to preserve these rights, and a ruler who violated these rights violated the natural law and broke the social contract. Locke, in contrast to Hobbes, believed that the contract between ruler and ruled could not limit the individual's natural right to enjoy life, political equality, and the ownership of property. in his book Two Treatises of Government, Locke argued that these individual rights were superior to laws and governments. Governments existed for the purpose of protecting these rights. Thus, a ruler's claim to absolute power contradicted the natural order because people would not—and could not—willingly surrender their fundamental natural rights. A ruler who denied the people's basic rights was a tyrant and could justly be overthrown.

William M. Connolley (talk) 19:00, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

I think that is acceptable to remove. A section on the differences and similarities between Locke and Hobbes might be a good idea one day, as a section about his influence (few discussions of Hobbes do not mention something about Locke), but it is not a simple subject. It is easy to find lots of sources, but they all say different things, and many of them give a sort of fairy tail "just so" story. There are also writers who say Locke was just repeating Hobbes in a nicer way (whose name was dirt by that time). Hobbes and Locke lived in a time when you could get in serious trouble for the sorts of things they published about, and this makes it difficult.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:01, 4 March 2015 (UTC)


It should be pointed out that Hobbes's attempt to square the circle was idiotic. The word "geometry" in the leading paragraph gives a false impression. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

If you can find a WP:RS that says so, of course William M. Connolley (talk) 18:02, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
There was such a controversy, where Hobbes is normally considered to have been wrong. I doubt we'll find sources using the word "idiotic". :) What our article already says, I see, is as follows...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:13, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
He went on to publish "De Corpore", which contained not only tendentious views on mathematics, but also an unacceptable proof of the squaring of the circle. This all led mathematicians to target him for polemics and sparked John Wallis to become one of his most persistent opponents. From 1655, the publishing date of "De Corpore", Hobbes and Wallis went round after round trying to disprove each other's positions. After years of debate, the spat over proving the squaring of the circle gained such notoriety that this feud has become one of the most infamous in mathematical history.


The article Leviathan (book) is linked seven times in the article – not counting the "Main" template – including three links in the sections immediately preceding the "Leviathan" section. It should be linked at most three times: in the lead, in its own section, and once only in the "Works" section. Please de-link the remaining four. Also, the link to Leviathon in the sentence, "The State, it now seemed to Hobbes, might be regarded as a great artificial man or monster (Leviathan)...", should not be italicized, as it does not refer to a book. (talk) 14:31, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Thank you. Altamel (talk) 22:01, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Meaningless sentence[edit]

The following sentence makes no sense: "Hobbes also criticised religious doctrines on rationalistic grounds in the Commonwealth." Can somebody who knows what it is supposed to be saying re-phrase it appropriately, please? (talk) 14:36, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

A fascinating history, as it turns out. It started out as part of a huge, undigested chunk from the 1911 Britannica, added in September 2002, which said

Also he took advantage of the rule of the Commonwealth to indulge much more freely than he might have otherwise dared in rationalistic criticism of religious doctrines; while, amid the turmoil of sects, he could the more forcibly urge, that the preservation of social order, when again firmly restored, must depend on the assumption by the civil power of the right to wield all sanctions, supernatural as well as natural, against the pretensions of any clergy, Catholic, Anglican or Presbyterian, to the exercise of an "imperium in imperio".

This was edited down, in March 2003, to "Also he took advantage of the Commonwealth to indulge in rationalistic criticism of religious doctrines." That sentence was chopped and changed several times over the years to become the meaningless sentence that's now there. I'm just going to take it out altogether. If anybody knows enough and cares enough to expound on Hobbes's criticism of religious doctrines, They can write a coherent account in the appropriate place. Scolaire (talk) 08:12, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually, a significant amount of Britannica 1911 content is still there, so I'm going to add the EB1911 template. Scolaire (talk) 08:29, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

The real Thomas Hobbes[edit]

The article is absurd. The real Thomas Hobbes did not have "liberal" views limiting the power of the ruler or rulers. The author of "De Cive" and "The Leviathan" did not believe in anything a Common Lawyer would call a free "contract" (Hobbes own use of the concept of compact is utterly different) concerning the state. The real Thomas Hobbbes was an absolutist who believed that the law was the will of the ruler or rulers, that the regime could oppress the population as much as it liked - see his "Dialogue Between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England". Thomas Hobbes was the arch enemy of the tradition of the Common Law (of thinkers such as Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke before the time of Hobbes, and Chief Justice Sir John Holt after the time of Hobbes) just as he was the arch enemy of human moral choice (agency) itself - being a determinist. There is no right-of-resistance in the sense of coming to the aid of other people against-the-state in the work of Thomas Hobbes - indeed the basic purpose of his works is to deny such a right-of-resistance in the sense of coming to the aid of other people (although an animalistic reflex of self preservation remains). The basic claim of the article that Hobbes was, in some sense, a constitutional and even "liberal" thinker is an utter absurdity - a total reversal of what Thomas Hobbes actually was. What the writer of the article needs to do is to read (or reread) what the actual Whigs (the real believers in limited government and the right-of-resistance in the sense of coming to the aid of others attacked by the state) thought of Thomas Hobbes - and free his mind of the nonsense put there by academics.2A02:C7D:B5B8:DA00:A4E9:6301:CDD2:D611 (talk) 15:05, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

There is no "writer" (in the singular) of this article. And its not clear which bit you're referring to. Perhaps you could quote? William M. Connolley (talk) 18:11, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
I count the word "liberal" 4 times in the present version of the article. Two of those are in titles of sources. The other two are in the lead, in the same paragraph. I presume this paragraph has created the concern? Both refer to the influence Hobbes had on later liberal thinking, so do not immediately seem relevant to what is being said here. Hobbes is not called a "liberal thinker" for example. Concerning the word "contract" I see it is always being used to refer to "social contract theory" which most publications about Hobbes mention as something he influenced. However of course if there are proposals for making that better indeed let's discuss.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:37, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't see why 18th century Whigs should get to have the final say on what constitutes liberalism. People mean a lot of things by "liberal." Sometimes, they mean an approach to the justification for political power: that legitimate political power should be justifiable to each person subject to it. Hobbes is sometimes thought of as part of the liberal tradition in that sense of "liberal." Another thing people might mean by "liberal," though, is one or more of a very wide range of substantive political doctrines characterized by recognition of basic constitutional rights and liberties, some kind of social equality, and then, sometimes, strong private property rights or a right of self-ownership. Most commentators don't recognize Hobbes as a liberal in that sense. (talk) 00:14, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Thomas Hobbes/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Needs reference citations badly. Badbilltucker 22:29, 16 October 2006 (UTC) Intro is short. Needs info about controversy between Hobbes and Locke. Only 1 inline citation. Kaldari 21:22, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 21:22, 18 October 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 08:37, 30 April 2016 (UTC)