Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), whose current reputation rests largely on his political philosophy, was a thinker with wide-ranging interests. In philosophy, he defended a range of materialist, nominalist, and empiricist views against Cartesian and Aristotelian alternatives. In physics, his work was influential on Leibniz, and led him into disputes with Boyle and the experimentalists of the early Royal Society. In history, he translated Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War into English, and later wrote his own history of the Long Parliament. In mathematics he was less successful, and is best remembered for his repeated unsuccessful attempts to square the circle. But despite that, Hobbes was a serious and prominent participant in the intellectual life of his time.
Source – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
19 Thomas Hobbes Quotes:
- Knowledge is power.
2. No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
3. For such is the nature of man, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other men’s at a distance.
4. So that in the nature of man,
we find three principal causes of quarrel:
The first, maketh men invade for Gain;
the second, for Safety;
and the third, for Reputation.
The first use Violence, to make themselves Masters of other men’s persons, wives, children and cattle;
the second, to defend them;
the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their Persons, or by reflexion in their Kindred, their Friends, their Nation, their Profession, or their Name.
5. Curiosity is the lust of the mind.
6. The source of every crime, is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden force of the passions. Defect in the understanding is ignorance; in reasoning, erroneous opinion.
7. What is the heart but a spring, and the nerves but so many strings, and the joints but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body?
8. The first and fundamental law of Nature, which is, to seek peace and follow it.
9. Words are the counters of wise men, and the money of fools.
10. Hell is truth seen too late.
11. For to accuse requires less eloquence, such is man’s nature, than to excuse; and condemnation, than absolution, more resembles justice.
12. it is one thing to desire, another to be in capacity fit for what we desire.
13. Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry… no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
14. A man’s conscience and his judgment are the same thing, and, as the judgment, so also the conscience may be erroneous
15. God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind that I’ll never die”.
16. Laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly.
17. Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.
18. They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.
19. When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death.