Thomas Hobbes was the first great English political philosopher.His work excited intense controversy among his contemporaries andcontinues to do so in our own time. In this masterly introductionto his work, Bernard Gert provides the first account ofHobbes’s political and moral philosophy that makes it clearwhy he is regarded as one of the best philosophers of all time inboth of these fields. In a succinct and engaging analysis the bookillustrates that the commonly accepted view of Hobbes as holdingpsychological egoism is not only incompatible with his account ofhuman nature but is also incompatible with the moral and politicaltheories that he puts forward. It also explains why Hobbes’scontemporaries did not accept his explicit claim to be providing anatural law account of morality. Gert shows that for Hobbes, civil society is established by afree-gift of their right of nature by the citizens; it does notinvolve a mutual contract between citizens and sovereign. Asinjustice involves breaking a contract, the sovereign cannot beunjust; however, the sovereign can be guilty of ingratitude, whichis immoral. This distinction between injustice and immorality ispart of a sophisticated and nuanced political theory that is instark contrast to the reading often incorrectly attributed toHobbes that “might makes right”. It illustrates howHobbes’s goal of avoiding civil war provides the key tounderstanding his moral and political philosophy.Hobbes: Prince of Peace is likely to become the classicintroduction to the work of Thomas Hobbes and will be a valuableresource for scholars and students seeking to understand theimportance and relevance of his work today.
About the Author
Bernard Gert is Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy at Dartmouth College.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Hobbes's Life, Times, and General PhilosophicalViews.
Chapter 2: Human Nature.
Chapter 3: Hobbes's Moral Theory.
Chapter 4: Hobbes's Political Theory.
Chapter 5: After Hobbes.