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Online Great Books Podcast

Oct 11, 2019

Thomas Hobbes is the type of writer you love to hate– but he’s also the guy you’d love to play cards with. Scott believes Hobbes’ Leviathan is one of the most fruitful books he has ever read. It’s a founding text of western thought filled with original ideas that are still relevant to contemporary politics. 

In today’s episode, Scott and Karl dig into chapters 13-15 and 17. It's only 36 pages so make sure to read it before listening in!

For Karl, Hobbes says things about human nature that he doesn’t want to be true. But that he’s not sure aren't true. Around the time “Leviathan” entered the English lexicon, Britain was engaged in a time of civil discord. The tooth and nail mentality of the time might explain Hobbes’s summary of man as “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”

In order to improve these conditions, the duo considers what makes people want to live in a commonwealth. For Hobbes, it was 3 things: fear of death, the desire of commodious living, and hope of getting it. Hobbes then provides 19 laws of nature he derives from that. Tune in to the episode to hear Scott and Karl’s rendering of Hobbesian liberty.

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