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Three Discourses: A Critical Modern Edition of Newly Identified Work of the Young Hobbes [Hardcover]

Thomas Hobbes , Noel B. Reynolds , Arlene W. Saxonhouse
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

January 15, 1996 0226345459 978-0226345451 1
For the first time in three centuries, this book brings back into print three discourses now confirmed to have been written by the young Thomas Hobbes. Their contents may well lead to a resolution of the long-standing controversy surrounding Hobbes's early influences and the subsequent development of his thought. The volume begins with the recent history of the discourses, first published as part of the anonymous seventeenth-century work, Horae Subsecivae. Drawing upon both internal evidence and external confirmation afforded by new statistical "wordprinting" techniques, the editors present a compelling case for Hobbes's authorship.

Saxonhouse and Reynolds present the complete texts of the discourse with full annotations and modernized spellings. These are followed by a lengthy essay analyzing the pieces' significance for Hobbes's intellectual development and modern political thought more generally. The discourses provide the strongest evidence to date for the profound influences of Bacon and Machiavelli on the young Hobbes, and they add a new dimension to the much-debated impact of the scientific method on his thought. The book also contains both introductory and in-depth explanations of statistical "wordprinting."

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The three discourses printed here, together with 12 other pieces, were first published in 1620 under the title Horae Subsecivae (Leisure Hours). Hobbes may have been the author of the discourses, but it was not until Reynolds and Saxonhouse carried out a statistical analysis ("wordprint") of the text that reasonably solid evidence for Hobbes's authorship was demonstrated. The editors do note, however, that the shorter pieces in the Horae Subsecivae were likely written by someone other than Hobbes, possibly William Cavendish, a student of Hobbes's and later second Earl of Devonshire. This volume begins with an essay by the editors on Hobbes and the Horae Subsecivae; the texts of the three discourses ("A Discourse Upon the Beginning of Tacitus," "A Discourse of Rome," and "A Discourse of Laws"), annotated and with modern spellings, follow. Part 3 contains an excellent essay by Saxonhouse on Hobbes's place in modern political thought. Part 4 is a short essay on statistical wordprinting as an analytical tool. This book deserves a place in all libraries supporting programs in the history and philosophy of political thought.
Terry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (January 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226345459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226345451
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Three Discourses March 29, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Exceedingly interesting account of Hobbes' travels to Rome during the seventeenth century. I would recommend to Western Civilization and History of Philosophy classes.
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