Hobbes, Thomas (1588–1679)
Thomas Hobbes is regarded as one of the greatest political thinkers in the Western tradition for his contribution to the development of the concepts of political obligation and state sovereignty. His theory is often associated with absolutism in domestic politics and with realism in international relations. A long line of interpreters, however, have questioned such associations. Hobbes was born in Malmesbury, England, on April 5, 1588. For much of our knowledge of Hobbes's early life, we have to rely on the notes of his contemporary and friend John Aubrey. Hobbes was of humble origin; his education at Magdalen Hall in Oxford was sponsored by an uncle. For most of his life, Hobbes worked for the earls of Devonshire. In his capacity as tutor, he travelled extensively in Europe and came in contact with the finest minds of the time, including Galileo, Descartes, and Leibniz. Hobbes fled to France during the ...