chapter  7
30 Pages

Hobbes Today

For more than a quarter-century, an enormous amount of first-class research has been done on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes by scholars located in departments of philosophy, history, and political science. This represents a sea change from the situation in the preceding two-and-a-half centuries. From the end of the seventeenth century until roughly the last quarter of the twentieth, Hobbes’s mathematics and natural science were largely ignored, having lost out to the tradition of Boyle and Newton. His moral and political philosophy was not so much attacked as was a distortion of it called “Hobbism.” It was briefly resurrected in the first half of the nineteenth century by William Molesworth, who thought Hobbes was a utilitarian. Molesworth published Hobbes’s English and Latin works. This has been the standard collected edition since that time; it is now being superseded by an edition being published by the Clarendon Press.1