Show Summary Details
Political ThinkersFrom Socrates to the Present

Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present (3rd edn)

David Boucher and Paul Kelly
Page of

Printed from Oxford Politics Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 12 April 2024

p. 21412. Hobbeslocked

p. 21412. Hobbeslocked

  • Deborah Baumgold


This chapter examines Thomas Hobbes's key political ideas. After providing a short biography of Hobbes, the chapter traces the development of his political theory as articulated in the Leviathan. In particular, it considers whether Hobbism rests on the assumption of egoism and whether Hobbes's theory depends on the idea of a social contract. It also describes the sequential composition of the three versions of Hobbes's theory and shows that his basic assumption about human nature is a form of solipsism. According to Hobbes, our thinking is necessarily self-referential, which need not be equivalent to holding that we are necessarily self-interested (egoistic). The chapter concludes with a discussion of Hobbesian contractarianism, agency, and authorization as well as three strands of contractarian reasoning to illustrate the importance of the idea of consent in Hobbes's political arguments.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription