Thomas Hobbes, born in Westport, England, on April 5, 1588, was known for his views on how humans could thrive in harmony while avoiding the perils and fear of societal conflict. His experience during a time of upheaval in England influenced his thoughts, which he captured inThe Elements of Law (1640); De Cive [On the Citizen] (1642) and his most famous work,Leviathan (1651). Hobbes died in 1679.
Argued that people were naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish
Hobbes wrote several versions of his political philosophy, including The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic (also under the titles Human Nature and De Corpore Politico) published in 1650, De Cive (1642) published in English as Philosophical Rudiments Concerning Government and Society in 1651, the English Leviathan published in 1651, and its Latin revision in 1668. Others of his works are also important in understanding his political philosophy, especially his history of the English Civil War, Behemoth (published 1679), De Corpore (1655),
the state national
To establish these conclusions, Hobbes invites us to consider what life would be like in a state of nature, that is, a condition without government. Perhaps we would imagine that people might fare best in such a state, where each decides for herself how to act, and is judge, jury and executioner in her own case whenever disputes arise—and that at any rate, this state is the appropriate baseline against which to judge the justifiability of political arrangements. Hobbes terms this situation “the condition of mere nature”, a state of perfectly private judgment, in which there is no agency with recognized authority to arbitrate disputes and effective power to enforce its decisions.