[in chronological order]

The Platonian Leviathan

- Leon Harold Craig, The Platonian Leviathan, (University of Toronto Press, 2013)
From the publisher: Thomas Hobbes’s influential political treatise, Leviathan, was first published in 1651. Many scholars have since credited him with a mechanistic outlook towards human nature that established the basis of modern Western political… More

Hobbes and the Law

- David Dyzenhaus and Thomas Poole, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
This volume provides the first collection of specially commissioned essays devoted to Hobbes and the law.

Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

- Noel Malcolm (Clarendon Press, 2012)
This is a three-volume critical edition based on a study of the manuscript and printing history of the Leviathan.  The first volume contains Malcolm’s introduction, which gives an account of the Leviathan’s context, sources, and textual history.  The… More

Leviathan and the Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life

- Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer (Princeton University Press, 2011)
Leviathan and the Air-Pump examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of the political treatise Leviathan and vehement critic of systematic experimentation… More


- Bernard Gert (Polity, 2010)
A book-length study of Hobbes’ political and moral teaching that resists the psychological egoism often attributed to Hobbes by emphasizing the distinction between justice and morality in his political theory.

“‘Of Religion’ in Hobbes’ Leviathan” by Devin Stauffer

- Devin Stauffer, The Journal of Politics, v. 72, no. 3 (July, 2010): 868-879
Abstract: Although Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential works in the early modern critique of traditional Christian political theology, a debate persists over Hobbes’s view of religion. This… More

“The Non-Normative Nature of Hobbesian Natural Law”

- Gary Herbert, Hobbesian Studies, 22, no. 1 (2009): 3-28
Abstract: In this paper, I attempt to defend an older, non-normative approach to Hobbes’s philosophy. I argue, against recent theories that maintain Hobbes’s philosophy contains a normative theory of human behavior “which prescribes proper or… More

“Hobbes’ Fearful Wisdom”

- Michael Gillespie, in The Theological Origins of Modernity (Chicago University Press, 2009), pp. 207-254
In this, the seventh chapter of his book-length study of the origins of modernity, Gillespie considers the place of Hobbes in the making (and crisis) of modernity and the Enlightenment.

Made with Words: Hobbes on Language, Mind, and Politics

- Phillip Pettit (Princeton University Press, 2009)
Pettit argues that it was Hobbes, not later thinkers like Rousseau, who invented the invention of language thesis–the idea that language is a cultural innovation that transformed the human mind. The invention, in Hobbes’s story, is a double-edged… More

The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes

- Jeffrey R. Collins (Oxford University Press, 2008)
The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes offers a revisionist interpretation of Thomas Hobbes’s evolving response to the English Revolution. It rejects the prevailing understanding of Hobbes as a consistent, if idiosyncratic, royalist, and vindicates the… More

Hobbes and Republican Liberty

- Quentin Skinner (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Skinner offers a comparison of two rival theories about the nature of human liberty. The first originated in classical antiquity, and lay at the heart of the Roman republican tradition of public life.  According to Skinner, Thomas Hobbes was the most… More

The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West

- Mark Lilla (Knopf, 2007)
Lilla argues that, due to a crisis in Western Christendom nearly five hundred years ago, a novel intellectual challenge to political theology arose in Europe. By portraying religion as an expression of human nature, not a divine gift, modern Western thinkers… More

“Hobbes, Locke, and the Problem of the Rule of Law”

- Michael Zuckert, in Launching Liberalism: on Lockean Political Philosophy (University Press of Kansas, 2002)pp. 297-310
Zuckert traces a contemporary disagreement among “Hobbesian” and “Lockean” scholars of constitutional law back to a disagreement over the moral foundations of law, the relation of ends and means, and the possibility of appealing from… More

Aspects of Hobbes

- Noel Malcom (Oxford University Press, 2002)
These essays are the fruit of many years’ research by one of the world’s leading Hobbes scholars. Noel Malcolm offers succinct introductions to Hobbes’s life and thought and studies of many different aspects of his political philosophy, his… More

Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction

- Richard Tuck (Oxford Paperbacks, 2002)
Hobbes has long had the reputation of being a pessimistic atheist, who saw human nature as inevitably evil and proposed a totalitarian state to subdue human failings.  Richard Tuck re-evaluates Hobbes’s philosophy in light of his passionate concern… More

Hobbes: A Biography

- A. P. Martinich (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
A. P. Martinich’s accessible biography takes full account of the historical and cultural context in which Hobbes lived, drawing on both published and unpublished sources.  The author is a Professor of Philosophy and the author or editor of nine books,… More

The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes

- Tom Sorell, ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
Hobbes had distinctive views in metaphysics and epistemology, and wrote about such subjects as history, law, and religion. He also produced full-scale treatises in physics, optics, and geometry. All of these areas are covered in this Companion, most in… More

“Hobbes’s Political Philosophy”

- Alan Ryan, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 208-245
A general essay on Hobbes’ political philosophy that discusses Hobbes’ theory of the sovereign as the source of all law.

“Hobbes’s Moral Philosophy” by Richard Tuck

- Richard Tuck, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 175-207
Richard Tuck considers the relation between Hobbes’ remarks on moral philosophy, which is concerned with passions and behavior, and his remarks on optics in De Homine, both of which are meant to combat illusions.

“Hobbes’s Psychology”

- Bernard Gert, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 157-174
An investigation of Hobbes’ determinism and the interaction of reason and passion in Hobbes’ moral philosophy.  The author denies that Hobbes was simply a psychological egoist.

“Hobbes on Law”

- M. M. Goldsmith, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 274-304
An explanation of Hobbes’ doctrine of law and his theory of sovereignty that relates Hobbes’ political thought to 20th century jurisprudence and considers the criticisms leveled at Hobbes by two of his contemporaries, Sir Edward Coke and Sir… More

“Hobbes and the Method of Natural Science”

- Douglas Jesseph, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 86-107
A comparison of Hobbes’ methodology with that of Scholastic natural philosophy, which is followed by a consideration of the distinction between analytic and synthetic methods and Hobbes’ claim that scientific reasoning depends on the manipulation… More

“First Philosophy and the Foundations of Knowledge”

- Yves Charles Zarka, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 62-85
Zarka considers the relation between Hobbes’s “rational reconstruction of knowledge” and his concept of “first philosophy,” focusing in particular on the  development of his first philosophy, with comparison to Aristotle and… More

“Hobbes’s Scheme of the Sciences”

- Tom Sorell, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 45-61
Tom Sorell considers Hobbes’ views on the proper organization of the sciences and how that organization bears on Hobbes’ own “system.”

“Hobbes on Religion”

- Patricia Springborg, in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (Tom Sorell, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 346-380
A treatment of Hobbes’ views on politics and religion, with particular attention to his distinction between the inner sphere of belief, which lies outside the sovereign’s control, and the outer sphere of public action, which is subject to the… More

Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes

- Quentin Skinner (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
Using, for the first time, the full range of manuscript as well as printed sources, Skinner documents an entirely new view of Hobbes’ intellectual development, and reexamines the shift from a humanist to a scientific culture in European moral and… More

An Intellectual History of Liberalism

- Pierre Manent (Rebecca Balinski, trans., Princeton University Press, 1996)
Highlighting the social tensions that confront the liberal tradition, Pierre Manent draws a portrait of what we, citizens of modern liberal democracies, have become. For Manent, a discussion of liberalism encompasses the foundations of modern society, its… More

“Hobbes versus Descartes”

- Edwin Curley, in Descartes and his Contemporaries (Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene, eds., University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 97-109
An analysis of the exchange between Hobbes and Descartes sparked by Descartes’ publication of his Meditations in 1641.

“Fear of Death” by Gary Herbert

- Gary Herbert, Hobbes Studies, 7, no. 1 (1994): 56-68
Excerpt: Of all the passions of self-interest, fear, Hobbes believed, was the most irresistible, most reliable, and most able to enlighten man regarding the truth of his situation. Unlike desire or appetite, fear is not limited by ignorance. While one can… More

“The Reception of Hobbes”

- Mark Goldie, in The Cambridge History of Political Thought 1450-1700 (J.H. Burns and Mark Goldie, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 589-615
Goldie provides a summary of contemporary and near-contemporary reactions to Hobbes.

Perspectives on Thomas Hobbes

- G. A. J. Rogers and Alan Ryan, eds. (Oxford University Press, 1991)
Including contributions from such notable scholars as David Gauthier, Noel Malcolm, D.D. Raphael, and Richard Tuck, this volume offers a variety of views on central aspects of Hobbes’s life and work, including the importance of his political theory and… More

The Rhetoric of Leviathan

- David Johnston (Princeton University Press, 1989)
Contending that modern readers do Leviathan an injustice by neglecting its metaphysical and theological themes, David Johnston supports his claim with a detailed examination of the text as a whole and with a reinterpretation of the genesis of the work.

Thomas Hobbes: the Unity of Scientific and Moral Wisdom

- Gary B. Herbert (University of British Columbia, 1989)
It is generally believed that Hobbes’s mechanistic physics is at odds with his notorious egoistic psychology, and that the latter cannot support his prescriptive moral theory.  In this book Gary B. Herbert sets forth a new interpretation of Hobbes’s… More

“Hobbes and the Political Science of Power”

- Harvey C. Mansfield, in Taming the Prince: the Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power (Free Press, 1989), pp. 151-180
Excerpt: In Machiavelli we find the executive, but not executive power.  Before executive power could be conceived as one of the equal independent powers of a republican constitution, the very concept of power had to be discovered.  This was the work of… More

“Thomas Hobbes”

- Lawrence Berns, in History of Political Philosophy (Leo Strauss, Joseph Cropsey, eds., University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp. 396-420
Berns’ summary of Hobbes’ political teaching is included in a famous collection of essays on the history of political philosophy to which many students of Leo Strauss contributed.

Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition

- Jean Hampton (Cambridge University Press, 1986)
This major study of Hobbes’s political philosophy draws on recent developments in game and decision theory to explore whether the thrust of the argument in Leviathan, that it is in the interests of the people to create a ruler with absolute power, can… More

Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory

- Gregory S. Kavka (Princeton University Press, 1986)
From the book description: Both conflict and cooperation are ubiquitous features of human social life. Interests of individuals conflict with those of their neighbors because (among other reasons) material resources are scarce, ideals and values are diverse,… More

Meditations on First Philosophy [1641]

- Rene Descartes, in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1984), vol. 2, pp. 1-62
The publication of these Meditations, in which Descartes famously strives with universal doubt in order to establish what can be known with certainty,  sparked a famous quarrel between Descartes and Hobbes.

“Thomas Hobbes’ Dialectic of Desire”

- Gary Herbert, The New Scholasticism, v. 50,  no. 2 (1976): 137-163
From the conclusion of the paper: “The central claim of the present paper has been that Hobbes’ philosophy proceeds by virtue of a dynamic, dialectical conception of nature, a conception which, I believe has its own origins in his thoughts about… More

Hobbes’s Doctrine of Method

- J. Weinberger, "Hobbes's Doctrine of Method," American Political Science Review, Vol. 69, No. 4 (Dec. 1975).
Excerpt: The rise of modern political science is usually associated with the rise of modern natural science and scientific method. It is often noted that Hobbes was the first modern thinker to apply the new science of nature to the study of politics and,… More

Hobbes on Civil Association [1975]

- Michael Oakeshott (Liberty Fund, 2000)
This volume consists of Michael Oakeshott’s four principal essays on Hobbes and on the nature of civil association as civil association pertains to ordered liberty. The essays are “Introduction to Leviathan” (1946); “The Moral Life in the Writings of… More

On the Sovereign Authorization

- Clifford Orwin, "On the Sovereign Authorization," Political Theory, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb. 1975).
Excerpt: HOBBES IS, as others have shown, the founder of the modern notion of representation. He does not, however, speak exclusively of “representation,” and “personation” and “standing-for,” but of… More

“Hobbes and the Science of Indirect Government”

- Harvey C. Mansfield, The American Political Science Review, v. 65, no. 1 (Mar., 1971): 97-110
In this essay, Mansfield takes up the simultaneously revolutionary and conservative aspects of Hobbes’ political science, considering especially the elevation of theoretical questions (i.e., questions of representation) over practical ones (i.e.,… More

The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke [1962]

- C. B. MacPherson (Oxford University Press, 2011)
This work by C.B. Macpherson was first published by the Clarendon Press in 1962, and remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory. In it, Macpherson argues that the chief difficulty of the notion of individualism that underpins… More

“On the Basis of Hobbes’ Political Philosophy” [1959]

- Leo Strauss, in What is Political Philosophy? and Other Studies (University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 170-196
Excerpt: In a word, by trying to give reasons for unqualified submission to authority, Hobbes makes impossible unqualified submission to authority; by appealing from authority to reason, as Socrates did, he is forced to repeat what he regarded as Socrates’s… More

The Political Philosophy of Hobbes [1936] by Leo Strauss

- Leo Strauss (Elsa M. Sinclair, trans., University of Chicago Press, 1996)
In this classic analysis, Leo Strauss pinpoints what is original and innovative in the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. He argues that Hobbes’s ideas arose not from tradition or science but from his own deep knowledge and experience of human… More

Hobbes’s Critique of Religion and Related Writings

- Leo Strauss (Gabriel Bartlett and Svetozar Minkov, trans., University of Chicago Press, 2011)
In The Political Philosophy of Hobbes Strauss argues that the basis for Hobbes’s natural and political science is his interest in “self-knowledge of man as he really is.”  The writings collected in this book, each written prior to that classic… More

Community and Civil Society [1887]

- Ferdinand Toennies (Margaret Hollis, trans., Jose Harris, ed., Cambridge, 2001)
Tönnies’ Community and Civil Society (first published in 1887 as Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft) is a classic of social and political theory, exploring the tension between close-knit “communities” and an emerging global market… More

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations [1776]

- Adam Smith, 2 vols. (R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, eds., Liberty Fund, 1982)
In this classic work, Smith builds upon Hobbes’s appeal to enlightened self-interest as the basis of social order, arguing that “it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to… More

The Theory of Moral Sentiments [1759]

- Adam Smith, 2 vols. (D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie, eds., Liberty Fund, 1982)
In this classic text, the founder of modern capitalism discusses the psychological basis of morality.  He continues the tradition begun by Hobbes by discussing morality in terms of man’s natural freedom and the primacy of self-interest.

Aubrey’s Brief Lives [Late 17th c.]

- John Aubrey (Oliver Lawson Dick, ed., David R. Godine, 1999)
A contemporary account of the life of Thomas Hobbes by the famous chronicler John Aubrey.

Second Treatise of Government [1689]

- John Locke (C. B. Macpherson, ed., Hackett, 1980)
Locke’s Second Treatise, one of the great texts in the history of liberal political thought and a great influence on the American founders, is simultaneously a continuation of Hobbes’ thought and a criticism of Hobbes’ scheme.  Like Hobbes,… More

A Letter Concerning Toleration [1689]

- John Locke (James H. Tully, ed., Hackett, 1983)
Locke’s plea for religious toleration, first published anonymously in 1689, is the founding document for the modern tradition of religious toleration.  He argues, in contrast to Hobbes, for the strict separation of church and state, basing his argument… More

Letter to Marin Mersenne for Hobbes [1641] by Descartes

- Rene Descartes, in The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes (Noel Malcolm, ed., Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 94–101
A letter from Descartes to Mersenne in which he addresses the objections to his Meditations that Hobbes had previously sent to Mersenne.