Saginaw Valley State University
Philosopher: Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes was not born to power or wealth or influence, he was known as the son of a disgraced village vicar. Hobbes was lucky that his uncle was wealthy enough to provide for his education and that his intellectual talents were soon recognized and developed. Those intellectual abilities, and his uncle’s support, brought him a place in university of Oxford. And these in turn – together with a good deal of common sense and personal maturity – won him a place tutoring the son of an important noble family, the Cavendishes. This meant that Hobbes entered circles where the activities of the King, of Members of Parliament, and of other wealthy landowners were known and discussed, and indeed influenced. Thus intellectual and practical ability brought Hobbes to a place close to power – later he would even be math tutor to the future King Charles II. Although this never made Hobbes powerful, it meant he was acquainted with those who were. As the Civil Wars of 1642-46 and 1648-51 was about to happen Hobbes felt forced to leave the country for his personal safety, and lived in France from 1640 to 1651. Even after the monarchy had been restored in 1660, Hobbes’s security was not always certain: powerful religious figures, critical of his writings, made moves in Parliament that apparently led Hobbes to burn some of his papers for fear of prosecution.
Hobbes most important and famous work is Leviathan, a classic of English writing style. Leviathan expands on the argument of De Cive (which offers a clear, concise statement of Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy), mostly in terms of its huge second half that deals with questions of religion. The Leviathan along with De Cive concludes Hobbes philosophies and believes. Hobbes believed that the future presents a “bleak picture of human beings in the state of nature, where life is "nasty, brutish, and short." Fear of violent death is the principal motive that causes people to create a state by contracting to surrender their natural rights and to submit to the absolute authority of a sovereign. Although the power of the sovereign derived originally from the people” (Williams, WP).
Hobbes believed that “human beings pursue their own self-interest relentlessly, instinctively avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. Hobbes saw the commonwealth or society, as a similar machine, larger than the human body and synthetic but nevertheless operating according to the laws governing motion and impact” (Williams, WP).
I cannot state whether or not I agree or disagree with Hobbes thesis or not because he is a very pessimistic person but there is some truth to his thesis it is not based on some ideological fact based on his imagination. He is a highly intelligent person not only in his field of study but in almost every subject and most of his thesis and work are recognized by other philosopher but I believe humanity is not the “"nasty, brutish, and short." Fear of