Understanding Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes' 17th century book Leviathan has been called "the greatest single work of political thought in the English language” (John Rawls).
But it is not the most accessible work. Beginning philosophy students continue to struggle with Hobbes' long sentences, old-English words and difficult prose style.
This study guide to Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan solves these problems by organizing each chapter into short sections while using contemporary examples and modern English to explain the more difficult arguments and ideas.
There are Hobbes Leviathan chapter summaries at the beginning of each chapter and there are Hobbes Leviathan discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
The result is an understandable philosophy study guide to Leviathan that occupies a comfortable niche between SparkNotes Leviathan summaries and heavy scholarly works such as the Cambridge Companion to Hobbes Leviathan.
The author of this Thomas Hobbes study guide (Laurence Houlgate) also provides two chapters showing how Hobbes answers the central questions of political philosophy, and compares Hobbes' answers to those of other famous philosophers (for example, Plato and John Locke).
In a concluding chapter, Professor Houlgate makes Hobbes relevant to contemporary political disputes by imagining a discussion between Hobbes, John Locke and James Madison about the justification of the impeachment clause in the U.S. Constitution.
Each chapter ends with discussion questions. Students can use them to ask thoughtful questions during class meetings, helping students with exam preparation and providing them with ideas for successful term papers.
This philosophy study guide is much more than a Hobbes Leviathan summary, a set of Hobbes Leviathan notes or a set of Leviathan flashcards. It is a presentation of Hobbes' Leviathan for those smart students who want to understand how to read, think critically, and write about the classics of philosophy.
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