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Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction

Richard Tuck

Publication Date - August 2002

ISBN: 9780192802552

168 pages

Retail Price to Students: $11.95


Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was the first great English political philosopher, and his book Leviathan was one of the first truly modern works of philosophy. Richard Tuck shows that while Hobbes may indeed have been an atheist, he was far from pessimistic about human nature, nor did he advocate totalitarianism. By locating him against the context of his age, we learn that Hobbes developed a theory of knowledge which rivaled that of Descartes in its importance for the formation of modern philosophy.


  • Covers important topics such as atheism, and human nature
  • Defines Hobbes as the first great English political philosopher
  • Richard Tuck is an expert in political philosophy and history
  • Discusses Hobbes' view of the natural human condition as 'nasty, brutish, and short'
  • Fully updated bibliography for this edition

About the Author(s)

Richard Tuck is Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of Natural Rights Theories (1979) and Philosophy and Government 1572-1651 (1993), and has produced editions of Hobbes's Leviathan and (with Michael Silverthorne) De Cive.


"Review from previous edition "lucid introduction to the first great English political philosopher."--The Times

Table of Contents

    Part I: Hobbes's life
    The life of a humanist
    The life of a philosopher
    The life of a heretic
    Part II: Hobbes's work
    Part III: Interpretations of Hobbes
    Hobbes as a modern natural law theorist
    Hobbes as the demon of modernity
    Hobbes as the social scientist
    Hobbes as a moralist
    Hobbes today

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