5 Apr, 2021

Thomas Hobbes – materialist philosopher

Thomas Hobbes was born on April 5, 1588 in Gloucestershire (England), his father was a parish priest. In 1608, Thomas graduated from Oxford University, and in 1610 became the teacher of Lord Hardwick, son of the aristocrat William Cavendish (later Earl of Devonshire). In 1628, after the death of William Cavendish, Hobbes was appointed mentor to Sir Jervays’ son Clifton.

Hobbes’s worldview was influenced by the work and reasoning of such scholars as Francis Bacon, Pierre Gassendi, René Descartes and Johannes Kepler. Thomas Hobbes considered the basis of morality to be a certain “natural law”, that is, the desire of a person to satisfy his own needs. Accordingly, the moral duty of a person and moral values, as Hobbes believed, were equal to civic duties.

Hobbes invented the first complete system of mechanistic materialism. Its essence was as follows: nature is just a collection of indefinite bodies that differ from each other in shape, position in space, size and movement (displacement). The sensory qualities of things do not belong to the things themselves, but only to our perception.

The state, according to Hobbes, is the result of an agreement between peoples, and the best form of state system is the monarchy. He also attached great importance to the church as an instrument of the state for subjugating the people. Therefore, the monarch must be at the same time the head of the church.

Thomas Hobbes died on December 4, 1679 in Derbyshire (England). For a long time his theories formed the basis for the development of social and philosophical thought in Europe.