Thomas Hobbes in His Time
edited by Ralph Ross, Herbert W. Schneider and Theodore Waldman
University of Minnesota Press, 1975
Paper: 978-0-8166-5863-3


Thomas Hobbes in His Time was first published in 1975. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Thomas Hobbes, the seventeenth-century English philosopher, is the subject of lively discussion among philosophers, historians, and political theorists today. Both as a participant in a revolutionary commonwealth and as a student of the science of human nature, Hobbes has achieved a new relevance to contemporary society. As the editors of this volume point out, moralists are apt to place him in the twentieth century, and historians are apt to portray him as an antique. The aim of these essays is to get an accurate account of how radical Hobbes was in his own revolutionary century.

The essays are the fruit of years of cooperative study, going back to John Dewey's calling attention to Hobbe's interest in transforming the courts of common law into courts of equity. The recent discovery of more manuscripts and the publication of better editions of his writings have stimulated an extensive reinterpretation of Hobbe's ideas and goals.

Even in his own time, Hobbes was subject to attacks from many sides. Although scholars now generally reject the stereotype of "Hobbism" which grew during four centuries of revolutionary developments, new stereotypes to describe his philosophy have emerged. By assessing Hobbes in terms of his own day, the book will serve to counteract much contemporary misunderstanding.

The essays cover four aspects of Hobbe's thought: his political theory, his views on religion, his moral philosophy, and his theory of motion and philosophical method. With the exception of John Dewey's "The Motivation of Hobbes's Political Philosophy," all the essays were written especially for this book. The other essays and authors are "The Anglican Theory of Salvation in Hobbes" by Paul Johnson, San Bernardino State College; "Some Puzzles in Hobbes" by Ralph Ross, Scripps College, The Claremont Colleges; "The Piety of Hobbes" by Herbert W. Schneider, emeritus professor of Columbia University and Claremont Graduate School, The Claremont Colleges; "The Generation of the Public Person" by Theodore Waldman, Harvey Mudd College, The Claremont Colleges; and "The Philosophia Prima of Thomas Hobbes" by Craig Walton, University of Nevada.

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