Writing Political Biography Rae Wear Writing political biography almost always involves a degree of self-exploration: To begin with, there is the choice of subject. Some biographers are drawn to personalities they admire while others tackle those they have little regard for but consider important or perhaps want to understand.
References and Further Reading 1. Introduction Hobbes is the writing a political bio father of modern political philosophy. Directly or indirectly, he has set the terms of debate about the fundamentals of political life right into our own times.
Few have liked his thesis, that the problems of political life mean that a society should accept an unaccountable sovereign as its sole political authority. Nonetheless, we still live in the world that Hobbes addressed head on: But what or who determines what those rights are?
And who will enforce them? In other words, who will exercise the most important political powers, when the basic assumption is that we all share the same entitlements? A century before, Nicolo Machiavelli had emphasized the harsh realities of power, as well as recalling ancient Roman experiences of political freedom.
Machiavelli appears as the first modern political thinker, because like Hobbes he was no longer prepared to talk about politics in terms set by religious faith indeed, he was still more offensive than Hobbes to many orthodox believersinstead, he looked upon politics as a secular discipline divorced from theology.
But unlike Hobbes, Machiavelli offers us no comprehensive philosophy: How is political authority justified and how far does it extend? In particular, are our political rulers properly as unlimited in their powers as Hobbes had suggested?
And if they are not, what system of politics will ensure that they do not overstep the mark, do not trespass on the rights of their subjects?
What did Hobbes write that was so important? How was he able to set out a way of thinking about politics and power that remains decisive nearly four centuries afterwards? Born inthe year the Spanish Armada made its ill-fated attempt to invade England, he lived to the exceptional age of 91, dying in He was not born to power or wealth or influence: And these in turn - together with a good deal of common sense and personal maturity - won him a place tutoring the son of an important noble family, the Cavendishes.
This meant that Hobbes entered circles where the activities of the King, of Members of Parliament, and of other wealthy landowners were known and discussed, and indeed influenced.
Thus intellectual and practical ability brought Hobbes to a place close to power - later he would even be math tutor to the future King Charles II. Although this never made Hobbes powerful, it meant he was acquainted with and indeed vulnerable to those who were. As the scene was being set for the Civil Wars of and - wars that would lead to the King being executed and a republic being declared - Hobbes felt forced to leave the country for his personal safety, and lived in France from to Thus Hobbes lived in a time of upheaval, sharper than any England has since known.
This turmoil had many aspects and causes, political and religious, military and economic. England stood divided against itself in several ways. Society was divided religiously, economically, and by region. Inequalities in wealth were huge, and the upheavals of the Civil Wars saw the emergence of astonishingly radical religious and political sects.
For instance, "the Levellers" called for much greater equality in terms of wealth and political rights; "the Diggers," more radical still, fought for the abolition of wage labor. Civil war meant that the country became militarily divided. And all these divisions cut across one another: Intensely disputatious, Hobbes repeatedly embroiled himself in prolonged arguments with clerics, mathematicians, scientists and philosophers - sometimes to the cost of his intellectual reputation.
For instance, he argued repeatedly that it is possible to "square the circle" - no accident that the phrase is now proverbial for a problem that cannot be solved!
His writing was as undaunted by age and ill health as it was by the events of his times. Hobbes gained a reputation in many fields. He was known as a scientist especially in opticsas a mathematician especially in geometryas a translator of the classics, as a writer on law, as a disputant in metaphysics and epistemology; not least, he became notorious for his writings and disputes on religious questions.
But it is for his writings on morality and politics that he has, rightly, been most remembered. Without these, scholars might remember Hobbes as an interesting intellectual of the seventeenth century; but few philosophers would even recognize his name.
What are the writings that earned Hobbes his philosophical fame? Other important works include: The second is a deep admiration for and involvement in the emerging scientific method, alongside an admiration for a much older discipline, geometry.
Both influences affected how Hobbes expressed his moral and political ideas. Leviathan and other works are littered with references to the "frequency of insignificant speech" in the speculations of the scholastics, with their combinations of Christian theology and Aristotelian metaphysics.
In the first place, he makes very strong claims about the proper relation between religion and politics.Great professional bio examples is waiting for you here!
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