cover of book

Three Discourses: A Critical Modern Edition of Newly Identified Work of the Young Hobbes
by Thomas Hobbes
edited by Noel B. Reynolds and Arlene W. Saxonhouse
University of Chicago Press, 1995
Paper: 978-0-226-34546-8 | Cloth: 978-0-226-34545-1
Library of Congress Classification JC153.H515 1995
Dewey Decimal Classification 320.1092

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."
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