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Leviathan: With selected variants from the Latin edition of 1668 (Hackett Classics) Underlined, Notations Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872201774
ISBN-10: 0872201775
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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Plainly the best edition of Leviathan. Superbly edited and indexed, with footnote passages from the Latin edition, a helpful glossary, biographical and autobiographical material, and a translation of Hobbes on the Nicene Creed, it will be an indispensable study tool. Curley's introduction is masterly. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

Review

A scholar’s edition at a student price! --Harvey Mansfield, Harvard University



The translation of Latin variants and the index of Biblical citations mark this off as by far the best edition of the Leviathan. --Thomas Pangle, University of Toronto



"Plainly the best edition of Leviathan. Superbly edited and indexed, with footnote passages from the Latin edition, a helpful glossary, biographical and autobiographical material, and a translation of Hobbes on the Nicene Creed, it will be an indispensable study tool. Curley’s introduction is masterly." --Jerome Schneewind, Johns Hopkins University
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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Paperback: 627 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company; Underlined, Notations edition (March 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872201775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872201774
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Anderson on August 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are lots of editions of Leviathan around, so why buy this one? The things the editor, Ed Curley, has done to make this edition accessible yet scholarly, like:

1. Updated spelling and punctuation. Although I personally miss Hobbes' original spelling (see the Penguin edition for that), as a teacher I appreciate Ed's making it easier for beginners and ESL students to read Hobbes' words.

2. Index. Most editions do not have one.

3. Glossary. Hobbes used many terms that are now archaic, and Ed's brief but clear glossary helps clarify the text.

4. Ed's Introduction. Curley is one of the most careful and knowledgeable commentators on Hobbes, and he briefly but expertly introduces some of the major themes of the book.

5. Latin variants. Hobbes wrote Leviathan in English and in Latin, and there are some interesting differences between the two versions. Ed presents many of these in the footnotes, plus he includes English translations of the Appendices of the Latin version.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the few books in western thought that cannot recieve enough praise. It is all at the same time a compilation of classical and medieval thought, a biting commentary and critique of 17th century Europe (England in particular), an exploration of philosophy as science, and to top it all off the first truly modern work of political philosophy. This is one of those works that anyone who truly wants to call themselves educated must read, whether their focus of studies is philosophy, politics, literature, science or even mathematics.

The fundamental nature of this work is to construct a reasoned materialistic account of human behavior starting from basic definitions and postulates (very similar to geometry). From these basic principles Hobbes constructs an account of human physchology based on human desires which then culminates in man's need to leave the natural state of the world into the constructed society, which Hobbes calls the leviathan. I cannot even attempt to give a summation of the steps of Hobbes's argument here that would do him justice, but suffice it to say that Hobbes's conclusion is that in order to be happy and safe man must give up his rights to a strong soveriegn. This is a conclusion that may not look modern or attractive at all to most readers, but Hobbes's reasonong is so clear and detailed that it forces the reader to, if not agree with all of his principles, at least take them very seriously. This is one of those books that forces one to reaxamine all of their assumptions about the world. Hobbes is also one of those misunderstood authors who are portrayed as being cold and ruthless, but are simply trying to provide their readers with an accurate and analytic account of humanities problems and hopefully providing solutions.
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Format: Paperback
Hobbes's LEVIATHAN is not only the most important work of political philosophy ever written in English, it is the work - even more than the writings of Francis Bacon - that kicked off the English tradition in philosophy. Many other claims are made for it, some praiseworthy, some negative. Its materialism caused countless authors to condemn its atheism, while its cold equations reduced man to his "price", in the eyes of many kicking off the tradition that ended with von Mises, Hayek, and Gary Becker (whether fair or not). He is also one of the earliest major figures in the social contract and natural law traditions. On almost every level it remains one of the most original and important books in the history of philosophy, and might be, even today, the most important philosophical book ever written in English, whether you agree with a word he writes.

The problem with Amazon is that it often clumps editions under a single roof. And editorial comments might have nothing to do with the version one is about to purchase. I own five editions of Hobbes's masterpiece, yet I don't own the best edition, the one edited by Noel Malcolm and which is referred to in the editorial reviews section: Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan (Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes). I would love to own this, but I simply don't have $300 to drop on a book, even in three volumes. But if Malcolm's intro is anything up to the level of what he did with Hobbes's CORRESPONDENCE, it qualifies as something that any serious student of Hobbes should read.

The five editions I own are the ones edited by Curley (Hackett), Tuck (Cambridge), Macpherson (Penguin), Shapiro (Yale), and Martinich (Broadview).
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In the State of Nature that is. Hobbes was an educator for the elite his entire adult life and produced this masterpiece while he was into his sixties. It is nothing short of superior in terms of style, clarity, and depth. The other reviewers have already said much, but I would like to discuss the impact of the State of Nature conception. Through his experiences in enduring the reprehensible atrocities of the English Civil War between Cromwell and the Elites(Royalists), Hobbes asserts that without civilization as master, human beings are in constant competition (often violent) for "what is available". Thus life is nasty, brutish, and short. Contrast this with the romantic conceptions of Rousseau (I tend to think more in the favor of Hobbes here). This conclusion conceived in 1651 is obviously a tremendous leap forward for knowledge and a great influence on scholarly thinking continuing through this day. It is a concept that is continuously revisited by hard and social science alike.

Hobbes appears contradictory in today's views. On one hand he finds that human beings are virtually equal where no one man is so superior to the rest of the herd that he may be immortal. However, Hobbes is absolutely defiant in his reasoning that civilization must divest full power to one individual. This way, the competitive nature of humans will be quashed under the interest of serving the leader. Everyone must have full faith in the authority of the ruler.

It is worthwhile to seriously consider these arguments and to observe how they have evolved in the modern state which you occupy today.
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