Alumni

The political influence Hobbes' politics and natural philosophy

View Full Record
Description: In 1642, Thomas Hobbes published De Cive and thereby presented to the world the first political theory that achieved, at least in his opinion, a scientific status. An earlier version of his political philosophy, called the Elements of Law , had been privately circulating in manuscript form in 1640. The most extensive treatment of his political philosophy was published in 1651, a work given the complete title of Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill . Hobbes claims, in all three works, that he has put political philosophy on a scientific footing. The frequent pronouncements about the scientific status of his political philosophy have often led scholars to interpret Hobbes's political works primarily as scientific treatises. Advocates of what I call the "philosophical approach" have emphasized the ways in which Hobbes's natural and scientific philosophy influences his political philosophy. It is frequently pointed out, for example, that Hobbes's adoption of a resolutive and compositive methodology, used by Galileo and other natural scientists, dictates and determines his approach to political phenomena. In this case, the commonwealth is resolved into its fundamental parts, which in turn are resolved into their parts. Such a resolution stops at the primary principles of natural philosophy, which serve as the foundation for a synthetic or Euclidean-like demonstration of political conclusions. In this work, I take issue with the fundamental tendency of the philosophical approach to emphasize the influence of Hobbes's natural philosophy on his political philosophy. In contrast to the philosophical approach, I reveal the manner in which Hobbes's political ideas influence his natural philosophy.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work