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Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher

Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher


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Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (1588-1679), English philosopher. 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 (1651) described society in terms of mathematics and science and laid the foundation for Western political economic theory in terms of a social contract between the state and the individual. These views were deemed heretical, and his books were banned in 1666. In later life he produced new translations of Homer's 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey.

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