Life Of Thomas Hobbes Essay

1720 words - 7 pages

1"Life of Thomas Hobbes"Joe RovelliPolitical SociologyProfessor AbramsFall "06"1Thomas Hobbes was born in London in 1588. He received his college education at Oxford University in England, where he studied classics. The contributions he has made to philosophy is remarkable to say the least. Hobbes became interested and spent a great deal of his life trying to figure out why people allowed themselves to be ruled and what would be the best form of government for England. In 1661, Hobbes wrote his most famous work, entitled Leviathan. In his piece, he stated, "For the laws of nature (as justice, equity, modesty, mercy, and, in sum, doing to others as we would be done to) of themselves, without the terror of some power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our natural passions, that carry us to partiality, pride, revenge and the like." He argued that people were naturally evil and could not be trusted to govern. Therefore, Hobbes concluded that an absolute monarchy was best for society.2Throughout his life, Thomas Hobbes faced several issues. One issue he faced was the controversy among Bishop John Bramhall. After completing De Corpore in 1654, a small treatise, Of Liberty and Necessity was published by Bramhall addressed at Hobbes. Bramhall had met and debated with Hobbes and afterwards wrote down his views and sent them privately to be answered in this form by Hobbes. (Wikipedia, 1) Hobbes replied, but not for publication, but a French acquaintance took a copy of the reply and published it with "an extravagantly laudatory epistle." Bramhall countered in 1655, when he printed everything that had passed between them. In 1656, Hobbes was ready with his Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance, in which he replied, "with astonishing force" to the bishop. The bishop returned to the charge in 1658 with Castigations of Mr Hobbes's Animadversions, and also included a bulky appendix entitled The Catching of Leviathan the Great Whale. Hobbes never replied or took any notice of the Castigations.Another controversy that Hobbes faced was with a Savilian professor of geometry, John Wallis. Errors in his book De Corpore, is what led Wallis to criticize Hobbes. "Wallis's Elenchus geomeirae Hobbianae, published in 1655 contained an elaborate criticism of Hobbes's whole attempt to put the foundations of mathematical science in its place with the general body of reasoned knowledge - a criticism which exposed the utter inadequacy of Hobbes's mathematics." (Wikipedia, 2) Hobbes took care to remove some of the worst mistakes exposed by Wallis, before allowing an English translation of the De Corpore to appear in 1656, but still attacked Wallis in a series of Six Lessons to the Professors of Mathematics in 1656. The ongoing battle between Hobbes and Wallis continued until Hobbes wrote a letter about himself in the third person. In this biographical piece, he told his own and Wallis's "little stories during the time of the late rebellion" with such...

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