Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury
Malmesbury is a market town and civil parish located in the southern Cotswolds in the county of Wiltshire, England. Historically Malmesbury was a centre for learning and home to Malmesbury Abbey...

(5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

. His 1651 book Leviathan
Leviathan (book)
Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil — commonly called simply Leviathan — is a book written by Thomas Hobbes and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblical Leviathan...

established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract
Social contract
The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept...


Hobbes was a champion of absolutism for the sovereign
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

 but he also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the later distinction between civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

 and the state); the view that all legitimate political power must be "representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid.

He was one of the founders of modern political philosophy.

To understand this for sense it is not required that a man should be a geometrician or a logician, but that he should be mad.

On the proposition that the volume generated by revolving the region under 1/x from 1 to infinity has finite volume. Quoted in Mathematical Maxims and Minims by N. Rose (1988)

…the passion of laughter is nothing else but a sudden glory arising from sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmities of others, or with our own formerly…

The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic Pt. I Human Nature (1640) Ch. 9

…in the state of nature, Profit is the measure of Right.

De Cive|Elementa philosophica: De Cive (1642)

Now I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.

Last words

The condition of a condition of Warre of every one against every one.

Pt. I, Ch. 14

Words are wise men’s counters, they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools, that value them by the authority of an Aristotle, a Cicero, or a Thomas, or any other doctor whatsoever, if but a man.

Pt. I, Ch. 4

…Understanding being nothing else, but conception caused by Speech.

Pt. I, Ch. 4

…Science is the knowledge of Consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another…

Pt. I, Ch. 5

The privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject but man only.

Pt. I, Ch. 5

Sudden glory is the passion which maketh those grimaces called laughter.

Pt. I, Ch. 6