Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common


Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil ❴PDF❵ ✩ Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil Author Thomas Hobbes – Thomashillier.co.uk Leviathan is both a magnificent literary achievement and the greatest work of political philosophy in the English language Permanently challenging it has found new applications and new refutations in Leviathan is both a The Matter, PDF/EPUB Á magnificent literary achievement and the greatest work of political philosophy in the English language Permanently challenging it has found new applications and new refutations in every generation This new Leviathan, or PDF/EPUB ² edition reproduces the first printed text retaining the original punctuation but modernizing the spelling It offers exceptionally thorough and useful annotation an introduction that guides the reader through the complexities of Hobbes's arguments and or The Matter, MOBI í a substantial indexAbout the Series For over years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship providing the or The Matter, Forme and eBook é most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features including expert introductions by leading authorities voluminous notes to clarify the text up to date bibliographies for further study and much.


10 thoughts on “Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil

  1. Charissa Charissa says:

    Not only did I disagree with Hobbes' conclusions I find his assumptions his arguments based entirely in Christian perspective essentially worthless The only value this tract served to me is to know thy enemy This is a classic example of mental circus tricks being used to justify the march of Christian dominance across the globe I can't think of any written text that I despise except perhaps Mein KempfHobbes is my least favorite philosopher He embodies everything I despise in Western thought If I met Hobbes in the street I would flash him my tits and then slap him in the face and call him a pervert


  2. Yasiru Yasiru says:

    Since some reviewers here seem to rate this work unfairly low because of their disagreements ignoring both the importance of Leviathan and the basic power of the argument Hobbes forwards in it I'll refer a couple of good measured reviews with history and backdrop also found here I planned to adapt an essay I wrote at university on Hobbes and Leviathan with comparisons against Locke Rousseau and others to serve as a review but it's rather unwieldy and a few of its less esoteric and elaborate points have been made very well and succinctly in some of the accounts aboveHobbes is the most influential figure in political thinking when it comes to what might broadly be called 'pessimistic philosophy' contra Leibniz and in this sense he makes an excellent formal and treatise like accompaniment to the works of Voltaire whose 'philosophical tales' especially are beyond the characteristic wit on display also immensely enjoyable; Kafka and to certain personal extent Beckett are also commendable reads He doesn't so much set out a modus operandi for a ruler as the Arthshastra or The Prince attempt to do but tries to justify the power to be accorded a ruler basically obliterating some of the open concerns a statesman might have to tactically contend with in Machiavelli But it may be that of all of Leviathan's contributions the eponymous Leviathan in the sense of an absolute monarch is the superfluous partGiven its age the language of Leviathan is remarkably clear and precise emphatic as necessary and uite accessible Hobbes sets out his arguments with almost mathematical proof like care however and the book may reuire patience I had lecture notes to guide me through when I first read important selections and perhaps something of that nature will be helpfulI recently found it a fascinating exercise to study the thought of this 'school' roughly speaking in the context of modern evolutionary thinking as found in very accessible but also rigorous accounts like The Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsOf course just as science with its empirical concerns does not prescribe but might inform efficient and effective methods for achieving an aim the pessimists are not prescriptive they simply caution in the way dystopia in fiction doesn't provide constructive commentary as utopia does but serve when done right in the manner of Orwell for instance as elaborate warning tales It is wrong to think of them especially Hobbes as social Darwinists There is willful misinterpretation on nearly every side of modern politics when it comes to philosophers like Hobbes so that arguments which come from the pedestrian self help esue philosophy of the likes of Ayn Rand or readings that miss the outré humour of de Sade can be cloaked in the appearance of erudition and thus made less incendiary when shamelessly carted out This propensity is far from lessened by the argument in Leviathan for monarchy and the easy clamour citing this gains from those blinded and made to follow complacently by the very term 'democracy' whether true in fact or notIt is perfectly fair to say that Hobbes with interests very relevant to him personally in his day fails to give due consideration to other forms of governance than the one he advocates but this shortcoming does not invalidate or at all detract from the conundrum he poses about trust within his 'state of nature' or the dangers of it The situation is akin to the Prisoner's Dilemma from game theory and there is the uestion of what's rational for the society on the whole against what is rational for the individual at each decision The implications from biology of trust favouring behaviours and the evolutionarily stable euilibria which may come about through such strategies further elucidate our notions on the human condition when considered alongside the basic problem


  3. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Leviathan or The Matter Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil Thomas Hobbes Leviathan is a book written by Thomas Hobbes 1588–1679 and published in 1651 revised Latin edition 1668 Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan The work concerns the structure of society and legitimate government and is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory Leviathan ranks as a classic Western work on statecraft comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince Written during the English Civil War 1642–1651 Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دهم ماه آگوست سال 2001 میلادیعنوان لویاتان؛ نویسنده توماس هابز؛ مترجم حسین بشیریه؛ تهران، نشر نی، 1380؛ در 572 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1381؛ چاپ چهارم 1385؛ چاپ ششم 1389؛ چاپ هفتم 1391؛ چاپ هشتم 1392؛ چاپ نهم 1393؛ در 576 ص؛ شابک 9789643125578؛ موضوع دولت از نویسندگان و فیلسوفان بریتانیایی سده 17 میلادیلویاتان بزرگ‌ترین و نخستین اثر فلسفهه ی سیاسی، و اولین شرح جامع درباره ی «دولت مدرن»، و ویژگی‌ها و کارکردهای آن است «هابز» در «لویاتان»، با بهره‌ برداری از تمثیل‌های ابزاروار، و اندام‌وار، دولت را همچون انسانی مصنوعی قلمداد می‌کنند، که ممکن است دچار انواع بیماری‌ها شود، و یکی از علایق اصلی «هابز» تشریح کالبد دولت، و بیماری‌های آن است «هابز» همچنین، در تحلیل ماهیت قدرت، آن را همچون پدیده‌ های سیال، و فراگیر می‌دانند، که اساس کل زندگی اجتماعی را تشکیل می‌دهد، و حوزه‌ های مختلف زندگی، همچون مالکیت اقتصادی، علم و دانش، اخلاق، قانون و حقوق و غیره، همگی در پرتو آن شکل می‌گیرند، و در حقیقت با آن هم‌ذات هستند ا شربیانی


  4. E. G. E. G. says:

    PrefaceA Scheme of ReferenceIntroductionA Note on the TextSelect BibliographyChronology Leviathan or The Matter Forme Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill Explanatory NotesIndex of Subjects


  5. Czarny Pies Czarny Pies says:

    Both the conclusions and methodology of Leviathan are shocking to the modern reader Writing in the seventeenth century Hobbes attacked medieval political philosophy and religion However unlike the enlightenment philosophers he did not base his arguments on the classical authors of Greece and Rome Instead he made it clear that he considered them to be as much in the wrong as the medieval scholastics Thus starting from zero Hobbes then developed the doctrine that every nation or commonwealth reuires a undivided sovereign To the contemporary reader Hobbes seems to be arguing that we would all be best living in a totalitarian regimeIn Hobbes view men are evil wishing by instinct to dominate and exploit their fellow men Hence every commonwealth needs to be ruled by a strong sovereign to protect the members of the commonwealth from each other The sovereign can be a single person an aristocracy or a democracy The single person system is best as it allows the most complete concentration of power For Hobbes a king and a tyrant are the same thing Thus the Greeks and Romans of the classical era were wrong to praise tyrannicide and condemn regicide Both were eually wrong The crime of the long parliament was not that it executed Charles I the divinely chosen King of England but that it killed the sovereign and ensured that civil war would resume in England Cromwell's great virtue was that he ended the war and protected the English population The supremet good for the commonwealth member is to support the sovereignWith the goal of demonstrating that the doctrine of the divine right of kings is nonsense Hobbes devotes two of the four books of Leviathan to proving that religion is absurd He fills pages referring to all the contradictions and absurdities in the Christian bible He points out that there is no way to properly determine which texts belong in the bible and which do not Even if one believes in God one has to deal with the second problem which is that there is no way to prove the claims of any of those who claim to speak for God that they are indeed his representatives Finally Hobbes points out that the doctrine of the divine right of kings as defended by the Roman Catholic Church has no basis in scripture Protestants however have little reason to be happy with Hobbes as he also demonstrates that many of their doctrines also lack basis in scriptureDespite his audacity and vigour posterity has not been kind to Hobbes Absolutism and totalitarianism are dirty words in today's society The political thinkers of the eighteenth century returned to the classical theory proposed by many authors but most elouently by Polybius that the ideal situation is for power in a state to be divided between a king an aristocracy and a democratically elected assembly The problem is of course that it is easier to argue against Hobbes than it is to fight totalitarianism's instinctive appeal In times of crisis people tend to support strong dictators like Franco protectors like Cromwell or strong men like Putin


  6. David Sarkies David Sarkies says:

    A Monster of a Book12 Oct 2017 Woah after three weeks I have finally managed to finish the behemoth of a book which ironically Hobbes also wrote a book with that name and I can now move onto something much lighter Anyway there was a time when I was younger when I was dreaming of one day getting married having children while becoming a hot shot lawyer is it possible to actually do those two things that I wanted to read this to my proposed child while he or she was still a baby Mind you I suggested this to one of my Christian friends who proceeded to have a heart attack claiming that it was a humanist text similar to the writings of David Hume Mind you this particular person is now a lecturer in English Literature at Harvard University so I am still wondering why she was hugely shocked at this idea Maybe it had something to do with wanting to read it to a baby Anyway this is apparently the book that laid the foundation for political science as we know it today though I am sort of scratching my head at this suggestion First of all people have been writing about politics since people first tossed out their unelected kings and began to argue as to the best way to run a country Mind you those particular people such as Plato pretty uickly came to the conclusion that letting the mob make the rules on a principle of popularity was a pretty bad idea so decided to go back to the drawing board to work out how they can have a system where smart people actually run the country Mind you as my Classics history lecturer once told us the problem with that idea was that all of the smart people actually had much better things to do than running a country Okay maybe Plato being a smart person would have been perfect for that position but he seemed to end up spending time trying to teach rulers how to be a smart ruler and failing abysmally As it turned out being a smart ruler isn't a particularly easy thing to do and in the end it is much easier to collect taxes and then use the said taxes to build palaces and to go around beating up all the people you don't like At least Machiavelli had the right idea Hobbs seems to follow Plato's opinion though he doesn't go as far as Machiavelli in actually telling rulers how to be successful rulers Rather he spends the time exploring the nature of government and instead of coming up with unworkable ideas he basically looks at what is around him and the traditions of the past to come to the conclusion that the best form of government is a monarchical government based upon the principles of scripture His theory is basically that because God is sovereign and because God is the perfect ruler then ergo the best form of government is that of a Christian king However as I have mentioned the book is pretty chunky and half of it deals with a theological exposition as to why the Bible supports monarchy Well not uite because he does come back to the point in the book of Samuel where the Israelites demand a king and the main reason that happens is because the Israelites had decided that living under the constitution that God laid out was just that little too hard and it seems that all of the nations around them were having a awful lot of fun so why not just live like them Well for those of us who know their Bible know how that turned out A little context is probably in order though Hobbes wrote this book during the English Civil war which was an incredibly messy affair Basically you had the Catholic monarch on one side wanting to do things his way and the protestant parliament on the other side basically telling him to bugger off and mind his own business Things got messier and messier and it resulted in Charles basically having his head lopped off Well that didn't particularly solve anything because much like the French revolution it left a power vacuum Well not uite because they did have Oliver Cormwell but it turned out that they didn't have an effective succession plan in place and in the end when Cormwell died his son took over with the resultant mess that ended up with them asking the king to come back and take over Hobbes' ideas probably won't sit well in our so called advanced Democracies these days but then again look at who landed up as President of the United States – a Reality TV star Okay he wasn't the only actor to have been elected President but at least Reagan was a tried and true union man if you consider the Screen Actors Guild a union but serious – it is Mind you we in Australia can't comment because we elected Tony Abbott – a misogynist that when asked what he felt about the LGBT community the reply was 'they make me feel uncomfortable' Actually when asked to comment on an Australian soldier that was killed in Afghanistan he reply was 'shit happens' I kid you not Well at least you can say that that is the typical Australian response Mind you while I'm no big fan of totalitarianism you have to admit that this whole democratic experiment at least in the west is pretty messed up Well not uite because the Germans have seemed to have worked it out uite well and seem to be chugging along uite happily Even the British seem to have some reasonably level headed people in power and whatever you think of Teresa May at least she is nowhere near as bad as Tony Abbot or the Trumpet for that matter Yet despite Hobbes not really being as applicable to our times in a way he is He was looking at a country that was in a complete mess and his solution was to go back to the tried and true method – a king – it certainly had to be better that people running around shooting each other Maybe we could solve our problems by asking Angela Merkel to come over here and sort us out Hey at least the Norwegians made sure that the mining companies actually paid for all of the minerals they took out of their lands – over here we simply let them take them If I were to walk into a shop and start helping myself to all of their goodies I'd be arrested I guess that is what the matra of 'jobs growth and opportunity' gets you these days


  7. Alex MacMillan Alex MacMillan says:

    Hobbes’s Leviathan appears draconian to most Americans who ascribe to classical liberal values Their rejection of his social contract coincides with an optimistic Lockean faith in the capabilities and moral fortitude necessary for negative liberties to survive This naïveté in political legitimacy is analogous to the popularity of the New Testament compared to the Old because while both texts share eual moral instruction we fervently prefer a loving and forgiving God to a brutal taskmaster Hobbesian pessimism in human nature is a cold bucket of water tempering our enthusiastic assumption of a free polis because it demonstrates how democratic freedom is contingent upon the behavior everyone demonstratesMy political science professor’s ad hominem disparagement of Hobbes as paranoid and neurotic was troubling given that Hobbes’s support for a Leviathan with absolute sovereignty remains a soberly empirical definition of power and fundamental governmental purpose Fear of death is the primary motivation for our surrender to political authority A government's legitimacy therefore necessitates the capacity for retributive action against internal and external threats The power of the individual and group is relational to the behavioral impact they exact on others Individual rights and liberties independent of government remain the exception not the rule of most persons throughout recorded history past and presentHow and why do the rights outlined by John Locke that we often take for granted exist at all? They depend on the internal morality of the individual who receives them which themselves depend on Enlightenment values held dear by everyone around that person I do not think that we are born blank slates in the state of nature or cynically view moral sentiments as a vacuous social construct Reading Hobbes’s brutal state and laws of nature however brought to mind the inculcations of parents Sunday School instructors and Sesame Street screenwriters Socrates’s description of a rational portion of our brain that holds back the appetitive beast within us for example is emblematic of an internal Leviathan each individual conscience tacitly consents to for a free society to be possibleThe gradual shift in favorability towards democracy from Socratic aversion to Jeffersonian approval based upon Locke reflected the piecemeal formation of internal Leviathans that made democracy possible Plato’s polemical attack in the Republic against democracy as an ideology suited for morally relativistic pigs made sense given the amorality of those around him who ignored philosophic truth and diffidently sentenced Socrates to death His opposition to democracy reflected the observable reality of Hobbes’s first law of nature namely an avaricious Tony Montana attitude commonly held towards other individuals and groups at that time Democracy only became a viable alternative to absolute sovereignty after the humble and prudential values diffused by the burgeoning bourgeoisie of Locke’s time attained widespread acceptance If the hypothetical man of the state of nature is self reliantly rational and reasonable rather than nasty and brutish we can entrust him with freedom without risking our security from deathThe American middle class is often derisively mocked at my University for the values its members hold dear Their sexual abstention proudly traditional religiosity and lowly aspirations for a uiet life of monetary gain with a nuclear family strike many supposed “free spirits” as an archaic edifice to topple The eternal Hobbesian preeminence of security within us however makes it wiser to consider the utilitarian importance of their self restraint for the preservation of any freedom at all


  8. Laura Laura says:

    Though considered to be one of the most influential works of political thought this manages to be both tedious and frightening – tedious because of Hobbes’s labored phrasing and protracted reasoning and frightening because his conclusions have been put into play by stars like Stalin and Pol Pot In brief Hobbes argues for a strong central government headed by an absolute sovereign Frankly I can’t imagine anyone liking Hobbes as his take on social contract theory supports the theoretical groundwork for constitutional monarchy instead of republicanism But some of his other theories are a bit intriguingly off I’d love to have a dinner party with Hobbes and a couple of Romantic poets – maybe Wordsworth and Coleridge – and ask them what they thought of Hobbes’s assertion that imagination is “nothing but decaying sense” and is the same as memory Maybe throw in Yeats as well That would be even entertaining than a soiree with Hobbes and Jefferson


  9. Marts (Thinker) Marts (Thinker) says:

    Thomas Hobbes discourse on civil and ecclesiatical governance he analyses this in four parts firstly via a discourse of man and the first principles of society; secondly he looks at the institution of a commonwealth and varying principles governing such as here listed The sovereign has twelve principal rights1 because a successive covenant cannot override a prior one the subjects cannot lawfully change the form of government 2 because the covenant forming the commonwealth results from subjects giving to the sovereign the right to act for them the sovereign cannot possibly breach the covenant; and therefore the subjects can never argue to be freed from the covenant because of the actions of the sovereign 3 the sovereign exists because the majority has consented to his rule; the minority have agreed to abide by this arrangement and must then assent to the sovereign's actions 4 every subject is author of the acts of the sovereign hence the sovereign cannot injure any of his subjects and cannot be accused of injustice 5 the sovereign cannot justly be put to death by the subjects 6 because the purpose of the commonwealth is peace and the sovereign has the right to do whatever he thinks necessary for the preserving of peace and security and prevention of discord Therefore the sovereign may judge what opinions and doctrines are averse who shall be allowed to speak to multitudes and who shall examine the doctrines of all books before they are published 7 to prescribe the rules of civil law and property 8 to be judge in all cases 9 to make war and peace as he sees fit and to command the army 10 to choose counsellors ministers magistrates and officers 11 to reward with riches and honour or to punish with corporal or pecuniary punishment or ignominy 12 to establish laws about honour and a scale of worth got this list from wikipedia but this is in chapter 18 of part oneThe types of commonwealth are also considered; monarchy aristocracy and democracy so too succession religion taxation etc etcThirdly Hobbes considers a 'Christian commonwealth' and governance based on 'the scriptures' considering discrepancies between scriptural and civil lawFourthy the 'kingdom of darkness' is considered in reference to ignorance and the absence of the light of knowledgeLeviathan was written during the English Civil War and Hobbes reiterates his views on sovereignity and social contract theoryOverall I think this was a rather interesting read and would recommend it to anyone who makes politics thier interest


  10. Tristram Shandy Tristram Shandy says:

    Scared Shitless but Not WitlessIn his autobiography Thomas Hobbes said that his mother had given “birth to twins myself and fear” which might be taken as a very clear hint that Hobbes’s mindset was that of a very pessimistic and distrustful man And yet Hobbes was not afraid to voice his opinions on man in general and the organization of what he calls the Common Wealth in particular with a frankness that does anything but bespeak of fear or pusillanimity at a time when to be frank on matters like these was especially risky to a person’s health Nevertheless the pessimism and distrust of human nature mentioned above seem to be at the bottom of Hobbes’s whole philosophy which makes a good case for the timelessness of his thoughts if you take them with the proverbial grain of saltAlthough probably not an empiricist in the strictest sense of the word Hobbes is allergic to any kind of metaphysical malarkey when he claims that philosophy should be based on clear cut definitions which will allow people to discuss both the natural and the social world in terms of intersubjective concepts The prime sources of knowledge to him are our senses which are influenced by impressions that work on them via certain motions How these motions are deciphered and interpreted by our senses however is a uestion Hobbes leaves in the dark One of the methods he recommends in order to understand man though is careful introspection So it is little wonder that Hobbes even comes to present the origins of religion in terms of psychological needs of man as for example here”And in these foure things Opinion of Ghosts Ignorance of second causes Devotions towards what men fear and Taking of things Casuall for Prognostiues consisteth the Naturall seed of Religion; which by reason of the different Fancies Judgements and Passions of severall men hath grown up into ceremonies so different that those which are used by one man are for the most part ridiculous to another”pp172fThis is probably one of the reasons why Hobbes is abhorred by so many full time do gooders and free time mythicists all over the world Hobbes destroys cherished beliefs and slams shut the door to cloud cuckoo land and what he offers us instead might be neither flattering nor soothing His view on man as motivated by self interest only – which culminates in the will to survive – and his rejection of natural laws 1 granting life dignity and candy floss as unalienable rights to every human being may insult human vanity – although they certainly testify to Hobbes’s awareness of the rules of the game of capitalism That being said it should be added that for all of Hobbes’s radical clear sightedness he fails to acknowledge the existence of certain pre state powers that pacify this dominant egocentrism of man such as religion 2 social codes of behaviour and s arising from human interdependence whose infringement is normally punished by peer pressure and ostracization if not by physical conseuences We might and should applaud this as the process of civilizationIn Hobbes’s view however the institution of a central government – no matter if in the form of a monarch or a group of legislators – is the only form of civilization and this is where his ideas fall short Hobbes’s failure to consider other socio cultural sources of disciplining man’s innate egoism by appealing to it via introducing severe disadvantages in case of anti social behaviour is the reason why he seems to bar any right on the individual’s part to resist the sovereign power once it has been established Albeit he claims that the sovereign has the duty to protect his subjects’ lives and well being and he even appears to introduce a right to resistance by the back door when he says”When a man is destitute of food or other thing necessary for his life and cannot preserve himselfe any other way but by some fact against the Law; as if in a great famine he take the food by force or stealth which he cannot obtaine for mony nor charity; or in defence of his life snatch away another man’s Sword he is totally excused for the reason next before alledged” p346Here it is not said in so many words that a man may not disobey his government as such but at least he need not obey the law against his own vital interests – as Kant and others would later have itOf course Hobbes leaves no doubt that the sovereign is exempt from any form of control or checks and balances and he could by no means accept the concept of a separation of powers and I am pretty sure that no one would like to live in the Common Wealth designed and justified by Hobbes or at least no one that has not experienced the insecurity of a lack of reliable government and of civil war Nevertheless there is one big merit one has to do Hobbes justice for and this is that he is one of the first modern European philosophers who had a utilitarian idea of the state and of government According to him the state and the sovereign are neither God given nor anything eternal and ethereal least of all a super organism that makes the individual find the kind of sense he would never discover as an individual – you know that sort of claptrap crap you would find in German Idealism In Hobbes’s eyes government and the state seem to be a necessary evil something that has a practical benefit namely to make the “life of man” less “solitary poore nasty brutish and short” p186 3 Once this much is clear we can discuss the state as a man made commodity deciding on how much central interference we are ready to accept as necessary and how much control and individual freedom we would like to retain It is in this sense that Hobbes is essentially modernAll in all reading Hobbes with an unprepossessed mind could paradoxically teach us to call into uestion the tendencies of governments and super governmental institutions trying to educate their citizens and make them behave according to certain moral principles and operating with terms such as social euality to meddle with people’s daily lives forever introducing new regulations and prescribed terminologies thus diminishing the sphere of individual responsibility and freedom1 His definition of natural law is not a normative one but the descriptive law of the bellum omnia contra omnes2 Hobbes is focused on religion as an instrument of political power and so he tends to neglect its nobler effect of instilling people with empathy for each other and of urging them to control their most egoistic impulses – not only by way of creating empathy but also and maybe mainly by way of threatening offenders with eternal punishment3 I really had to get this famous uotation in somewhere


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