Thomas Hobbes (5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. Although Hobbes was a strong believer in the right of sovereigns to rule absolutely, Hobbes developed the political philosophy that laid the foundation for theories like social contract theory that have formed the backbone of Western democracy. Hobbes also wrote about history, mathematics, physics, ethics and philosophy, writing at length about human nature and the strength of self-interest, often referred to as materialism.
Among Hobbes’ work, his most famous and important is Leviathan, titled after the Biblical character. Hobbes’ Leviathan expounds at length upon the structure of society and legitimate government, becoming one of the most influential political philosophies in the West’s history. Leviathan weds social contract theory to an absolute sovereign, calling upon legitimate government to protect the natural rights of its people. Written during the English Civil War, Hobbes argues a strong centralized government is necessary to avoid war and upheaval.
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