Considered by many to be among the greatest works of political philosophy, especially in the English language, "Leviathan" is Hobbes' book, published in 1651, which outlines his theories on an ideal state and its creation. The structure of a society and a legitimate government, as he reasons, is perhaps the earliest example of social contract theory, which outlines the need of rule by an absolute sovereign. In Hobbes' time, the political and social structures of England were in a changing and uncertain state, which explains to some extent his ideas on the need of a strong central government in the face of a chaotic civil war. Hobbes believes that the prospect of peace this system would provide is worth giving up some of the natural freedom of man, who is essentially a being of individual fears and desires. This brings about his discussion of dissident forces, which threaten the commonwealth, itself the monstrous Leviathan at risk of war. A continually challenging work with reasoning that has stood the test of time, "Leviathan" has in some part contributed to the advancement of the modern world.
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January 01, 2013
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