Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Leviathan” as Want to Read:
Leviathan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Leviathan

by
3.68  ·  Rating details ·  32,077 ratings  ·  584 reviews
'The life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short'

Written during the chaos of the English Civil War, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan asks how, in a world of violence and horror, can we stop ourselves from descending into anarchy? Hobbes' case for a 'common-wealth' under a powerful sovereign - or 'Leviathan' - to enforce security and the rule of law, shocked his contemp
...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 736 pages
Published November 19th 1981 by Penguin Books (first published 1651)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Leviathan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Leviathan

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Charissa
Nov 28, 2007 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
Edward
Preface
A Scheme of Reference
Introduction
A Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
Chronology


--Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill

Explanatory Notes
Index of Subjects
Alp Turgut
Türkiye İş Bankası Yayınları’nın "Thomas Hobbes" biyografisini okuduktan sonra okuduğum için ünlü düşünürün felsefesini anlamakta zorluk çekmeden okuduğum "Leviathan", özellikle "İnsan Üzerine”" ve "Devlet Üzerine" olan ilk iki bölümüyle neden okunması gereken felsefi başyapıtlar arasında olduğunu ortaya koyuyor. Özgür irade olmadığının altını çizen Hobbes, iradenin özgür olduğunu vurgularken devlet kurumu olmadan insanların yaratılışları itibariyle kontrol altına alınamadığını etkileyici bir şe ...more
Sarah Karimia
ارزش یا قدر انسان مثل ارزش و قدر همه ی چیزهای دیگر در بهای اوست یعنی در همان مبلغی ست که به ازای استفاده از قدرت او پرداخت می گردد و بنابراین ارزش انسان مطلق نیست بلکه وابسته به نیاز و ارزیابی دیگران است. فرمانده ی توانای سپاهیان در زمان وقوع جنگ و یا احتمال وقوع آن ارزش بسیاری دارد ،اما در زمان صلح چنین نیست.قاضی دانا و پاک و با وجدان ارزش و قدر بسیاری در زمان صلح دارد نه در زمان جنگ.و در مورد انسان ها نیز مثل هر چیز دیگر نه فروشنده بلکه خریدار قیمت را تعیین می کند. زیرا اگر کسی والاترین ارزش م ...more
Czarny Pies
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those looking for a strong defence of totalitarianism.
Shelves: political-theory
Both the conclusions and methodology of "Leviathan" are shocking to the modern reader.
Writing in the seventeenth century, Hobbes attacked medieval political philosophy and religion. However, unlike the enlightenment philosophers he did not base his arguments on the classical authors of Greece and Rome. Instead he made it clear that he considered them to be as much in the wrong as the medieval scholastics. Thus starting from zero, Hobbes then developed the doctrine that every nation or commonwea
...more
Amir Latifi
هدف اصلی کتاب پاسخ به این پرسش است: چرا به دولت نیاز داریم؟

هابز برای انسان حقی را تعریف میکند به نام «حق طبیعی». حق طبیعی یعنی حق حفظ منافع که میتواند منجر به قدرتطلبی و تجاوز به حقوق دیگران شود. در نتیجه هابز «وضع طبیعی» را وضع «جنگ همه علیه همه» میداند. و از اینجا به لزوم بکارگیری «قانون طبیعی» میرسد تا بتوان به مدد آن حقوق انسانها را حفظ کرد و آنها را مجاب کند که و از آنها خواست که به حقوق دیگران تجاوز نکنند. این مفاهیم را بسط میدهد و دولت را کسی میداند که باید همه به نفع آن و با هدف حفظ امنی
...more
Alex MacMillan
Oct 22, 2011 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. 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 brutal taskmaster. ...more
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Κατ’ αρχάς μια πολύ ωραία και προσεγμένη έκδοση. Είναι το έργο ζωής του Thomas Hobbes, άγγλου φιλόσοφου, γιου προτεστάντη κληρικού, που έζησε τον 17ο αιώνα.

Μέρος πρώτο: περί ανθρώπου. Εξαιρετικό.

Μέρος δεύτερο: περί πολιτικής κοινότητας. Αναπτύσσει την βασική του πολιτική φιλοσοφία, βέβαια θεωρώ πως είναι ξεπερασμένη σήμερα.

Έως εδώ καλά!

Μέρος τρίτο & τέταρτο: περί χριστιανικής πολιτικής κοινότητας και βασιλείου του σκότους. Δηλαδή περί θαυμάτων, περί της σημασίας του λόγου των προφητών, περί
...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
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
Andrew
Dec 02, 2011 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
David Sarkies
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
A Monster of a Book
12 Oct 2017

Woah, after three weeks I have finally managed to finish the behemoth of a book (which, ironically, Hobbes also wrote a book with that name) and I can now move onto something much lighter. Anyway, there was a time, when I was younger, when I was dreaming of one day getting married, having children, while becoming a hot shot lawyer (is it possible to actually do those two things) that I wanted to read this to my proposed child while he (or she) was still a baby. Min
...more
Steven Peterson
May 31, 2009 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
Mazdak Paskeh
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
ایده کلی جذاب، حداقل نیمی از کتاب مطلقا بیهوده
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
نجيب الترهوني
Oct 04, 2014 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
ValeBooks
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Para Hobbes la comunidad al ser creada o constituida por el soberano es un hecho externo, por eso es algo artificial y totalizante. Representativa de un constante aumento del desacuerdo en cuanto a los significados comunes y fundamentales, y en tal sentido nos permite ver que precaria era, para Hobbes la distancia entre estado de naturaleza y sociedad civil. El estado de naturaleza simboliza no solo un extremo de desorden en las relaciones humanas... Un estado subjetivo y no solo de la carencia ...more
Ana Rînceanu
For the most part, I admire Hobbes even if I disagree with half of what he's saying. The first part of this book appeals to me mostly because both of us acknowledge the inherent shortcomings of human kind. While I can't really deny that there is a "mutual relationship between protection and obedience", I'm my view there is a limit to it. The social contract should not be respected by the populus without complaint or demand. What is needed is a democracy not a tyranny.

For the most part, I think i
...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.
Eryn (Literary Lady)
Read for class.
Mel Vincent
May 21, 2010 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
Alex
Jun 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
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.
J.M.
Sep 25, 2015 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
Hussain Ali
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: فلسفة
أول سلطوي عبقري !!
Muath Aziz
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
David
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enter my crude understanding:

This very well may be the most difficult to understand book I have ever read, thanks in part to antiquated language, not having read Hobbes’ prior work, upon which a large portion of Leviathan is based, and a general bafflement at the immense explanation of terms and Hobbes’ immense, IMMENSE, dense, and convoluted use of theology and the Bible to attempt to rationalize (or, in the precise language of the book, ratiocinate) his view of sovereign power as being of high
...more
Gary
Jan 18, 2016 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
Jeremy
Jul 08, 2010 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
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
The book was not nearly as good as my college professor made it out to be.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
phil syllabus 1 8 Apr 19, 2017 10:42PM  
The origin of the state may be viewed in another way 1 17 Sep 13, 2014 10:12AM  
Is Leviathan a reflex of what happens nowadays? 3 44 Jan 27, 2013 04:24AM  
Similar thinkers to Hobbes? 4 48 Jan 16, 2013 01:12AM  
  • Two Treatises of Government
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • On Liberty and Other Essays
  • The Discourses
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • The New Organon
  • The Discourses & Other Early Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Philosophical Essays
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • A Theory of Justice
  • The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry
  • Politics
  • The Young Man's Guide
455 followers
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
“Hell is truth seen too late.” 176 likes
Scientia potentia est.

Knowledge is power.”
154 likes
More quotes…