Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher who was born April 5,1588 and died December 4,1679. He attended Oxford University where he studied classics. He was a tutor by profession and also traveled around Europe to meet scientists and to study different forms of government. Thomas Hobbes was the first great figure in modern moral philosophy. He became interested in why people allowed themselves to be ruled and what type of government would be best for England. Hobbes had a pessimistic view of people. His view was that humans were mean creatures who would do anything to better their positions. Also that people could not be trusted to make decisions on their own and a country needed an authority figure to provide direction and leadership. Therefore, he believed in monarchy- a government that gave all power to a king or queen. He said that democracy would never work because people were only interested in promoting their own self-interests. Despite this doubt of democracy, he believed that a contrasting group of representatives presenting the problems of the common person would prevent a king from being unfair and cruel. Hobbes originates the phrase 'Voice of the people' meaning one person could be chosen to represent a group with similar views.
Legitimacy of government
Hobbes was a dedicated materialist. The views that got him in trouble were related to this, as Hobbes claimed to believe in God, but believed that since only the material universe existed, God must be a material being, just one with great powers. Hobbes sought legitimacy for government not founded in religion, because his sort of religion wasn't what most Christians would regard as Christianity. He also saw that a new source of legitimacy for the state was needed, because kings and priests had been working very hard at destroying their own legitimacy. He wrote Leviathan during the English Civil War in 1648.The Thirty Years War ended, while the English Civil War started in...
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