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Leviathan

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3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,330 Ratings  ·  437 Reviews
Thomas Hobbes took a new look at the ways in which society should function, and he ended up formulating the concept of political science. His crowning achievement, Leviathan, remains among the greatest works in the history of ideas. Written during a moment in English history when the political and social structures as well as methods of science were in flux and open to int ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 736 pages
Published November 19th 1981 by Penguin Classics (first published 1651)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Charissa
Jan 12, 2008 Charissa rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody!
Recommended to Charissa by: Linda my undergraduate philosophy professor
Not only did I disagree with Hobbes' conclusions, I find his assumptions (his arguments based entirely in Christian perspective) essentially worthless. The only value this tract served to me is to "know thy enemy". This is a classic example of mental circus tricks being used to justify the march of Christian dominance across the globe. I can't think of any written text that I despise more, except perhaps Mein Kempf.

Hobbes is my least favorite philosopher. He embodies everything I despise in West
...more
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
Since some reviewers here seem to rate this work unfairly low because of their disagreements, ignoring both the importance of Leviathan and the basic power of the argument Hobbes forwards in it, I'll refer a couple of good, measured reviews with history and backdrop also found here-

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Originally I planned to adapt an essay I wrote at univers
...more
Rowland Bismark
Jun 03, 2010 Rowland Bismark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leviathan, Hobbes's most important work and one of the most influential philosophical texts produced during the seventeenth century, was written partly as a response to the fear Hobbes experienced during the political turmoil of the English Civil Wars. In the 1640s, it was clear to Hobbes that Parliament was going to turn against King Charles I, so he fled to France for eleven years, terrified that, as a Royalist, he would be persecuted for his support of the king. Hobbes composed Leviathan whil ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Thomas Hobbes discourse on civil and ecclesiatical governance, he analyses this in four parts, firstly via a discourse of man and the first principles of society; secondly he looks at the institution of a commonwealth and varying principles governing such, as here listed:
"The sovereign has twelve principal rights:

1. because a successive covenant cannot override a prior one, the subjects cannot (lawfully) change the form of government.

2. because the covenant forming the commonwealth results fro
...more
Yann
Le Leviathan (view spoiler)est un livre remarquable. Écrit par un Anglais au beau milieu du dix-septième siècle, alors qu'en France la Fronde secoue la paix du royaume, que l'Angleterre est également la proie de troubles, et qu'enfin l'Europe est encore meurtrie par les guerres de religion, cet ouvrage a pour ambition de tracer nettement la frontière entre les prérogatives de la Religion chrétienne et celles de l’État, quand à l'usage des lois, et de la force pour les faire resp ...more
Andrew
Dec 02, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Leviathan is a major work of philosophy. Full stop.

It's interesting to think that this book is the fundamental root of a lot of ultra-conservative brains. On some level, I can understand this. Hobbes defends the divine right of royal power (to a certain extent) and proceeds to define this power as absolute. Without question, subjects must bow to their masters, under any circumstances. In all this, however, he ultimately says that a monarch's power is granted him by his subjects, for without subj
...more
Steven Peterson
May 31, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing
Three essential hallmarks of the Hobbesian system are important: the war of each against all, the role of human rationality in ending this; the use of knowledge/science as a basis for societal engineering. His view of the state of nature--that time before government and the state existed--is unsurprising when one understands that he was born in the year of the erstwhile invasion by the Spanish Armada (1588) and lived through civil turmoil and revolution in England throughout his life.

Hobbes beg
...more
Laura
Though considered to be one of the most influential works of political thought, this manages to be both tedious and frightening – tedious because of Hobbes’s labored phrasing and protracted reasoning, and frightening because his conclusions have been put into play by stars like Stalin and Pol Pot. In brief, Hobbes argues for a strong central government headed by an absolute sovereign.

Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone liking Hobbes, as his take on social contract theory supports the theoretical gr
...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. I read this when I was in college during a political science course. I remember thinking it was a good source of discussion/debate in class. I plan to re-read this in the near future and will give a more detailed review at that time.
Alex MacMillan
Oct 31, 2011 Alex MacMillan rated it liked it
Hobbes’s Leviathan appears draconian to most Americans who ascribe to classical liberal values. Their rejection of his social contract coincides with an optimistic Lockean faith in the capabilities and moral fortitude necessary for negative liberties to survive in a commonwealth. This naïveté in political legitimacy is analogous to the popularity of the New Testament compared to the Old because, while both texts share equal moral instruction, we fervently prefer a loving and forgiving God to a b ...more
Mel Vincent
Jun 05, 2011 Mel Vincent rated it it was amazing
This is truly the greatest written political work of all time. It meticulously dissects the areas of the political body and mind, the Leviathan itself, and it also deals with the fundamental properties that enable that political body to work such as human reason, ideology, government and also religion.

Every question that I have conceived within the confines of my mind, this book has answered it perfectly and efficiently. It is amazing how Thomas Hobbes has argued, analyzed and even criticized th
...more
J.M.
Mar 04, 2016 J.M. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of History or Political Science
Not the best book I've ever chosen to read while in the bathroom, but it's not like I would have read it any other way. It's interesting purely as a historical document, as it followed the English civil war and speaks out, basically, for commonsense civility and peace-through-strength. A lot of it is just sensible argumentation, and I especially admired Hobbes' refusal to credit ancient sources merely because they're ancient. His defense of this, presented in the conclusion, is essentially: "Yea ...more
Alex
Jun 10, 2007 Alex rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy

hobbes' theory is a misanthropic, elitist vision that humans are basically corrupt, evil and stupid, and must be lead by a far-sighted guardian or "leviathan" which enforces private property relations and prevents people from following their "evil impulses."

yikes.
Hussain Ali
Jun 10, 2016 Hussain Ali rated it it was amazing
Shelves: فلسفة
أول سلطوي عبقري !!
Jeremy
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, politics
It's not hard to see why this is considered so important. He goes one step beyond Machiavelli and just totally blows apart the last remaining shreds of virtue-derived political praxis. Politics no longer has anything to do with the idea of 'the good,' what we have now is a secular system in which we consent to have rulers to protect our own interests, however noble or terrible they may be, because without that framework we'd just live like animals, fighting absolutely everything else in the worl ...more
Savanna
Jul 18, 2012 Savanna rated it did not like it
In his Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes claims that the acts of a sovereign are always the acts of each of the subjects, so no subject can ever be wronged by the sovereign. He makes this assertion to justify the power structure of a monarchist commonwealth, and he bases this conclusion on a contract he believes arises when a nation chooses to be governed instead of remaining in a state of anarchy he calls the state of nature. I’ll explain why by showing how a sovereign is raised and the nature of the c ...more
Gary
Feb 04, 2016 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Open Syllabus Project, the systematic study of over one million college syllabi ranks this book as the seventh most popular book cited by syllabi. After having listened to this book I know exactly why. The Age of Enlightenment starts with this book.

It's clear that the project of the Enlightenment was the dialectic of answering the pessimism of Hobbes with the optimism of John Locke. They might not have had to agree with Hobbes, but they had to respond to him.

Hobbes is very subtle in some of
...more
Muath Aziz
Jan 03, 2016 Muath Aziz rated it it was amazing
Read this review first if you haven't read the book yet: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

#Of Man#: No free will, no soul, we are just machines just like a ball on a slope, it falls down expectedly (it can't Will not to go down). Imagination is just Memory; decaying Senses that propagate inside our heads.

#Of Common-Wealths#: Read above-mentioned review.
-----

#Of A Christian Common-Wealth#: Now he links what he said in Of Man (the world and us are mechanical, no Metaphysics nor Ghosts etc)
...more
نجيب الترهوني
Jan 15, 2015 نجيب الترهوني rated it it was amazing
اللفياثان
كتاب طويل ولكن لن تشعر ابدا بطول
فالكتاب ليس فلسفيا وليس سياسيا وليس ملحمة او عملا أدبيا
هو خلط من كل ما كتبت ، فكتاب هوبز هذا المقسم الى أربعة اجزاء تحدى فيه سلطان الكنيسة والدين البابوي بشكل لا يصدق
في الجزء الاول يتحدث هوبز عن الانسان ، عن أهمية اللغة والحكمة وكيفية التفكير معطيا اول التلميحات لنظرية المثالية
في الكتاب بعد ان هئ هوبز للإنسان المثالي ينتقل الى الدولة المثالية عبر ترميزها في وحش بحري أسطوري هو اللفياثان
فأيرادات الدولة تمثل دماء الوحش ومفاصلها هي وزراءها
اما رأس الوحش فهو زع
...more
Briana
I am AFRAID. VERY AFRAID.

...and I haven't even opened the cover yet...
Leviathan shall devour me alive...

*EDIT*

For some reason, even though Second Treatise of Government is about a million times skinnier than Leviathan and its very name is less imposing, I'm having an easier time with Leviathan.

Yes, Hobbes, I do understand that people can have "stream of consciousness" thoughts. NO, I DO NOT NEED YOU TO GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE!!

17th century vocabulary is so fun to decipher. Hobbes keeps calling the
...more
Nahed.E
May 27, 2015 Nahed.E rated it it was amazing
Shelves: للدراسة
One of the most important books in the history of philosophy , Every one study the modern philosophy must read it , Because of the most important points of Hobbes's philosophy in this book .
John Yelverton
Feb 24, 2016 John Yelverton rated it did not like it
The book was not nearly as good as my college professor made it out to be.
Moad
خلاصة كتبتها لأصدقائي على الفيسبوك, أي فهي ليست مراجعة أو ريفيو بمعنى الكلمة

اللفايثان هو اسم كتاب لـ الفيلسوف الانجليزي توماس هوبز وضع فيه أساسيات نظرية "العقد الإجتماعي" في مفهومها الحديث. يعد من أمهات الكتب في السياسة وبالغ الأهمية خصوصا أن هوبز كتبه بعد "الحرب الأهلية الإنجليزية" كوسيلة لتجنب تكرار مثل هذه الحرب.

بداية الكتاب ابيستيمولوجية (الفرع المتخصص بالمعرفة في الفلسفة), أي يحاول الإجابة عن أسئلة مثل ما هي المعرفة أو الأفكار؟ ما مدى معرفتنا بشيء معين والحس والإدراك. وجدير بالذكر أن هوبز ا
...more
Mr.
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it really liked it
This huge work is the foundation of classical liberalism; it is the basis for Locke, for Smith, and all economic neo-liberalists all the way up to the current period. Written during the English Reformation, Hobbes was confronted with the problem of absolute individualism; he begins this work of political theory with a demolishment of objective truth swift enough to impress any post-modernist. He then proceeds to demonstrate the logical conclusion of man in a state of nature, and compels the mode ...more
Ken Moten
Jul 27, 2013 Ken Moten rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People into political philosophy; Cavaliers
[update 10/23/13: after having to re-read this thing for another class I have a little more appreciation for it but I would do well not having to read it for another 10 years.]

Bellum omnium contra omnes

Another book from philosophy class. I have trouble remembering whether this book or the Critique of Pure Reason frustrated the class more. This was a very "interesting" book to read. I think when people call Plato's Republic fascist they are thinking more of this text which took all the controver
...more
Michael
Apr 20, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: class-war
"No crime if there ain't no law."
-- The Damned, "Neat Neat Neat"

The liberal instinct urges me to say that I disagree with it, but this book and its implications are bigger than me. I almost have to laugh at myself for leveling judgement on it, as if it mattered -- me: already living in the world of the leviathan. In the bigger sense, I don't disagree with it, anyway -- perhaps in the normative sense, but as an observer of society I see he seems to have his shit together. With my judgement out of
...more
Rashaan
May 30, 2010 Rashaan rated it really liked it
URGENT ACTION ALERT:

Join the Sovereign Advocates in support for The Monarchy Revitalization Act AD800. Now is the time to add your voice to the call for “The Rule of One.” Thomas Hobbes, a potentate’s chief promoter, thanks everyone for submitting to Leviathan and endorsing this crucial measure.

The bill AD800 calls for a government similar to those of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Henry VIII, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire also known as The Hapsburgs. AD800 will re-establish true order since all men of r
...more
Cristina Sburlea
I first read it in high school and it was the book that got me hooked to philosophy. Hobbes lived in the Baroque. Maps were expanding greatly as more lands were being discovered and as empires were exploring regions they had not previously ventured into. Wars plagued the entire world. Empires were fighting at home but also at their outskirts. The world in which he lived was very violent. So it is not all that difficult to understand how he got to those conclusions. Also, nobody should make the f ...more
Andrew
Over the years, the idea of Thomas Hobbes has become far more important than Hobbes himself. We all know his line about the state of nature-- "nasty, brutish, and short"-- that can be applied to high school wrestlers as easily as it can to his proto-Enlightenment convictions about primitive man.

But that's the thing, we all know it. And when we hear his shitty, absurdly baroque argument, we like it even less. To a modern reader, Hobbes is his own worst enemy. If you have a historical interest in
...more
Scot
Sep 24, 2014 Scot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, philosophy
It has been quite some time since I read this in its entirety, but I recently re-read parts of it for an online class through Coursera and UPenn. The first time I read Leviathan as a philosophy major in college, I thought it was complete garbage. As I am older (and hopefully wiser), I still do not agree with Hobbes, but I now have a better understanding of why he thought as he did and of some of the merits of his line of thought. Hobbes' back story is quite interesting, war in England sent him t ...more
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The origin of the state may be viewed in another way 1 13 Sep 13, 2014 10:12AM  
Is Leviathan a reflex of what happens nowadays? 3 36 Jan 27, 2013 04:24AM  
Similar thinkers to Hobbes? 4 43 Jan 16, 2013 01:12AM  
  • Second Treatise of Government
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • The Basic Political Writings
  • The Discourses
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • The Marx-Engels Reader
  • The New Organon
  • On Liberty and Other Essays
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • Politics
  • The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry
  • The Frontier in American History
  • The Theory of Moral Sentiments
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Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (also Thomas Hobbes of Malmsbury) was a British philosopher and a seminal thinker of modern political philosophy. His ideas were marked by a mechanistic materialist foundation, a characterization of human nature based on greed and fear of death, and support for an absolute monarchical form of government. His 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation for most of Wes ...more
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Scientia potentia est.

Knowledge is power.”
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