Item description for Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Richard Tuck...
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was the first great English political philosopher, and his book Leviathan was one of the first truly modern works of philosophy. Richard Tuck shows that while Hobbes may indeed have been an atheist, he was far from pessimistic about human nature, nor did he advocate totalitarianism. By locating him against the context of his age, we learn that Hobbes developed a theory of knowledge which rivaled that of Descartes in its importance for the formation of modern philosophy.
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Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.02" Width: 4.52" Height: 0.42" Weight: 0.35 lbs.
Release Date Aug 29, 2002
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN 0192802550 ISBN13 9780192802552
Availability 0 units.
More About Richard Tuck
Richard Tuck is Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of Natural Rights Theories (1979) and Philosophy and Government 1572-1651 (1993), and has produced editions of Hobbes's Leviathan and (with Michael Silverthorne) De Cive.
Reviews - What do customers think about Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)?
Not the best Apr 28, 2008
Tuck's introduction is perhaps hampered by the 'Very Short' series format. The central Hobbesian ideas of 'rights of nature' and 'laws of nature' are not sufficiently fleshed out for a novice, in my opinion. I would highly recommend 'Thomas Hobbes' by Johann Sommerville (St. Martins Press) for a precise and clear exposition of Hobbes' fundamental arguments. By all means, read Tuck, but in conjunction with Sommerville.
An authoritative introduction to the first great English political philosopher Aug 13, 2007
The author starts by telling us "Hobbes created English-language philosophy". Really? What of Francis Bacon, to whom Hobbes once acted as amanuensis? Poor Bacon does get a brief, grudging mention later on. The description in the blurb of Hobbes as "the first great English political philosopher" is probably more accurate. Certainly he is important, in a broad Western context. He was central to the transition from medieval to modern thought, and was a strong influence on Rousseau and others. Tuck is an expert guide (despite his inexplicable slighting of Bacon) and his style is very readable. This introduction covers Hobbes's life, works and intellectual legacy. Reliable and informative, it is highly recommended as an introduction to, and summary of, Hobbes's ideas, but to better appreciate the context, you might want to read (dare I say it?) Bacon's Essays first.
Adequate but less than lucid Jan 24, 2006
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an extremely important English philosopher, best known for his political philosophy, especially as found in the work "Leviathan".
Richard Tuck's overview of Hobbes does an adequate job of summarizing the views of this important philosopher; however, the book at times feels a little bit too detail-oriented, often at the expense of forming a more clear picture of Hobbes's philosophy as a whole. One particularly confusing discussion involves Hobbes's ideas about the difference between a "natural right" and a "natural law".
The three main sections of the book focus on Hobbes's life, Hobbes's work, and later interpretations of Hobbes. Perhaps this last section is the most fascinating; we find, for example, Hobbes political theory in modern times being analyzed within the idiom of "game theory".
Tuck is clearly an expert and knows what he's talking about, but his book might be pitched just a bit over the head of a true beginner to the study of Hobbes or philosophy in general.
All in all this is a decent work - but it occasionally becomes over-academic at the expense of clarity... and in a work of this sort, clarity is a priceless asset.
Good very short introduction Dec 15, 2004
I was able to read this entire little book in much less than a day. Especially interesting was the first section, "Hobbes' Life", which described the relationships between philosophers of that time, both between each other and society. The section on Hobbes' philosophy was also well done, and very informitive. The section on interpretations of Hobbes' didn't seem to have a point. It covered the fine distinctions modern scholars are making, which is well outside the scope of a book introducing someone to Hobbes. As this section can simply be skipped it didn't take away from the book, despite it's questionable value.
An introduction to Hobbes written with clarity and grace Apr 7, 2000
When I read British philosophy as an undergraduate, I skimmed over Hobbes and focused primarily on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. It was not until recently that I realized the importance of Hobbes's political thought. Therefore, I decided to read Hobbes's "Leviathan." Having previously discovered the outstanding little books in the "Past Masters" series published by the Oxford University Press, I first looked to see if the series included a title on Hobbes, and I found Tuck's book, which I read before reading "Leviathan." Tuck's "Hobbes" provided me with a good foundation for reading "Leviathan," and Tuck greatly increased my appreciation for Hobbes. Tuck is particularly careful to describe not only Hobbes's political philosophy; he also provides an introduction to Hobbes's thought regarding religion, science, ethics, and philosophical method. By gaining an overall picture of Hobbes's thought, I came to appreciate Tuck's claim that "Hobbes created English-language philosophy." I recommend this book to anyone approaching Hobbes for the first time.