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Book details
  • SubGenre:Political
  • Language:English
  • Pages:230
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667863979

Thomas Hobbes

Working Philosopher

by Thomas S. Schrock

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Our world is falling apart, and Thomas Hobbes tells us how to put it back together. In these troubled years, he is our go-to philosopher and my work an indispensable introduction to him. That is what my book is—a study making Hobbes usefully instructive to persons trying to understand and live in our terrifying times, times he had something to do with bringing about and from which he purports to show us a way out.
If you want a concise anticipation of the America and the world we are entering mid twenty-first century, as the FBI is attacked by 18 year olds with AK-47s, try the following depiction by Thomas Hobbes from the seventeenth century: During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man. Whatsoever therefore is in a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same is consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than their own strength. In such condition, there is no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short [Leviathan 13.8-9]. In such circumstances we can follow former President Obama in another context, who said "good luck with that!" Or, we can study Hobbes, who tells us, in case we didn't know, that we are entering the state of war, but who then also tells us how we might avoid going all the way to the trenches and instead might reinstitute the peace of our republic. My book is about reading Hobbes. It is not however only a book about how to read him but an actual reading, showing such a thing can be done. Not an exhaustive reading, to be sure—far from it! Rather, it is a special study undertaken with a special view to what as pioneers in the recovery of our world and our lives we all need to learn from this great theoretical resource.
About the author
As a white kid growing up on an Indian reservation I started my education in a one-room country school. Became a cowboy, loving horses, the saddle, the rope—indeed loving the wide-open spaces of our great Pacific Northwest. I had a competing desire, though, because I liked books as well. After graduating in history from Willamette University, I became a serious reader of legal books at the New York University School of Law where I earned a J.D. as a Root-Tilden Scholar. Subsequently "passing the bar" in the District of Columbia and being admitted to the practice of law there, I declined that way of life, though, choosing books for good when given the opportunity of receiving instruction from the great legal and political thinker, Leo Strauss. Earning a Ph.D. under his direction at the University of Chicago, I also taught there. My final move was to the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I was in the Department of Political Science department for 25 years until retirement and where my wife and I have made our home and raised our two children. Although I am not philosopher material and not even Leo Strauss could turn me into one, he of course did teach me many priceless things, one of which remains with me and which is how to read Thomas Hobbes.
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