Thomas Hobbes. Historical portrait of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Hobbes led a sheltered and long life, mostly as secretary and teacher to the family of Lord Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire. He travelled in Europe from 1634-1637, meeting scientists and philosophers such as Galileo and Descartes. He fled England's Civil War in 1640, living with the exiled royal court in France for the next eleven years. His major work, Leviathan, attempted to describe society in terms of mathematics and the principles that governed the physical world. These controversial views, inspired by Euclid's geometry, were deemed heretical, and his books were banned in 1666.
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