The leviathan is the vast unity of the State. But how are unity, peace, and security to be attained? Hobbes’ answer is sovereignty, but the resurgence of interest today in Leviathan is due less to its answers than its methods: Hobbes sees politics as a science capable of the same axiomatic approach as geometry.
Written during the turmoil of the English Civil War, Leviathan was, in Hobbes’ lifetime, publicly burnt and even condemned in Parliament as one of the causes of the Great Fire of London in 1666. Its current appeal lies not just in its elevation of politics to a science, but in its overriding concern for peace, its systematic analysis of power, and its convincing apologia for the then-emergent market society in which we still live.
Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Leviathan is a remarkable attempt to explain and justify the institution of government, and it remains one of the masterpieces of political thought.” (Masterpieces of World Literature)
I bought this audiobook as a readalong to the book for a graduate class in Political Theory on Classical Liberalism. The printed book is difficult and densely written, especially with odd spellings, long sentences, and intense definitions. It helps to have the audiobook playing as you read the book, to break down the sentences.
This is no light reading. It is for academicians and students only. Yet, it provides a connection between the 13th century Magna Carta or Rights of Man, and the French and American revolutions, which raised individual rights to a new height. Hobbes believes in individual rights but maintains that monarchy is the best form of central government. This connection is important to political theory, and Hobbes is its main author.
The narration is clear and with just the right affect as to delineate between concepts. The Greek in the text is ignored in the audiobook, but does not detract from the idea. Well done audiobook perfectly calibrated to the Norton Critical edition.
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