Lagura: Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): The man who preached knowledge as power

·1 min read

MANY students in philosophy and political science get enamored with the ideas of Thomas Hobbes.

Hobbes was born in Westport, England in 1588. Educated in the classics, he learned Greek and Latin. Besides excelling in mathematics and the sciences, he also turned out to be a great writer, a profound thinker in philosophy and political science. He also gained fame as a fierce debater, fighting as a “rebel” for the royalists and attacking the Catholic Church in favor of Anglicanism.

Hobbes gained fame with his book, Leviathan, written during the turbulent times plaguing England, when Catholics fought against the Anglicans, following King Henry VIII’s separation from Rome, whose soldiers, known as “roundheads” and Puritans, marched under Oliver Cromwell. So violent and barbaric was the struggle that Cromwell, after defeating the Irish Catholics, reportedly ordered the vanquished foes tied to posts while he with the bible in one hand and a dagger in the other, personally slew hundreds of enemies.

During these troubled times Hobbes, in his Leviathan, ferociously fought against the then prevalent idea among the English royalists, namely the “divine right of kings.” On the contrary Hobbes advocated the “social contract theory” where men, egoistic and warlike by nature, come into a contract or covenant with each other and place themselves under a sovereign ruler who must maintain peace by force.

Hobbes, an avid supporter of Oliver Cromwell converted to Anglicanism, did not officially or publicly deny God. However, in his philosophy, basically empiricist and sensist, and in his theology -- no longer Catholic -- he proudly proclaimed that God, who cannot be observed scientifically, has no place in philosophy, philosophy or science!

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