This page features a collection of the best resources on Thomas Hobbes. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want a comprehensive overview of Hobbes:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Hobbes’s Moral and Political Philosophy. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also fairly long at around 4000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces Hobbes:
“The 17th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes is now widely regarded as one of a handful of truly great political philosophers, whose masterwork Leviathan rivals in significance the political writings of Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Rawls. Hobbes is famous for his early and elaborate development of what has come to be known as “social contract theory”, the method of justifying political principles or arrangements by appeal to the agreement that would be made among suitably situated rational, free, and equal persons. He is infamous for having used the social contract method to arrive at the astonishing conclusion that we ought to submit to the authority of an absolute—undivided and unlimited—sovereign power….”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Alistair MacFarlane’s short article on Hobbes [1800 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
- Watch The School of Life’s short video on Hobbes [6:45 mins]
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to the In Our Time episode on Hobbes [41:25 mins]
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on Hobbes
The Daily Idea collects and organizes the best philosophy resources from across the internet to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible. You can find an organized collection of introductory readings and free philosophy resources here. Or get started below by signing up for a free philosophy quote delivered to your inbox each day!