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The 70 Best Famous Phrases of Thomas Hobbes

The 70 Best Famous Phrases of Thomas Hobbes

June 11, 2024

Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679) was an outstanding English philosopher who greatly influenced the political philosophy of the modern era. Author of Leviatán (1651), in his works he explored the ethical levels that governed the free market societies.

Theorist of liberalism, Hobbes left an extensive legacy in disciplines as disparate as political science, history, ethics, physics and geometry.

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Phrases of Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher

In his texts he spoke of the importance of the liberal state and the limits of representative democracy.

In today's article we will do an exhaustive review with the best sentences of Thomas Hobbes , to make his philosophical and political thinking more accessible.


1. Desire, accompanied by the idea of ​​satisfaction, is called hope; stripped of such idea, despair.

Reflection on vital expectations.

2. Laughter is nothing more than the glory that is born of our superiority.

A small sample of moral and intellectual superiority.

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3. The first and fundamental law of nature is to seek peace.

Without that harmony there is nothing else that can be built.

4. Eloquence is power, because it has the aspect of prudence.

To speak well means to weigh the tone and content of what is going to be said.

5. Fear and I were born twins.

With similar characteristics.


6. When men build on false foundations, the more they build, the greater the ruin.

The fundamentals of large companies, the more solid, the better.

7. Man is a wolf to man.

Homo homini lupus, perhaps the most famous phrase of Thomas Hobbes.

8. Life is a perpetual movement that, if it can not progress in a straight line, unfolds circularly.

In continuous dynamic process.

9. This private norm to define the good is not only vain doctrine, but also pernicious for the public State.

A reflection of ethical cut.

10. Idleness is the mother of philosophy.

Once we have nothing to do we can reflect on everything and nothing.

11. The basis of all great and lasting societies has consisted, not in the mutual will that men had, but in reciprocal fear.

Respect for authority is, historically, the glue with which societies can survive.


12. After such outrageous what can be said?

An ironic response to one of his guests.

13. Ideas stimulate the mind.

Creativity is born from there.

14. Favors oblige, and obligation is a bondage.

When you receive a favor from someone, distrust.

15. When two men want the same thing they can not enjoy together they become enemies.

This is how the competition works

16. The Messiah was the two things, much sacrificed goat and much goat of escape.

About Jesus Christ and his life.

17. War does not consist only in battle but in the will to fight.

What lies behind armed conflicts.

18. Julius Caesar and other emperors who came after him obtained that same testimony, that is, they were canonized as saints.

From high politics to religious veneration.

19. There are very few who are so foolish that they do not prefer to govern themselves before being governed by others.

Having one's own criteria is always preferable.

20. The inequality that now exists has been introduced by civil laws.

In opinion of several phrases of Thomas Hobbes, the law is the genesis of the inequality.

21. To an equal justice corresponds also an egalitarian application of taxes ...

The rich can not pay less, or the social contract is undermined.

22. We do not seek society out of love for itself, but for the honors or benefits that it can bring us.

Society helps us achieve our desires.

23. A democracy is really no more than an aristocracy of orators, interrupted at times by the temporary monarchy of a speaker.

The voice of the people is rarely represented.

24. The notions of righteousness and illegality, justice and injustice, have no place in war.

They are ethical variables that do not apply to war conflicts.

25. In the nature of man we find three main causes of quarrel: competition, distrust and glory.

To reflect.


26. Sometimes a man wants to know the result of an action, and then he thinks of a similar action and the successive results it gave rise to, on the assumption that similar actions will follow similar results.

One of those phrases by Thomas Hobbes in which he talks about human motivations.

27. A free man is one who, having strength and talent to do something, finds no obstacle to his will.

It focuses directly on the objective.

28. The pagans also had their saturnalia, and we have carnivals.

A form of collective redemption.

29. Those who approve an opinion, call it opinion; but those who disapprove call it heresy.

Everything depends on the point of view, according to Hobbes.


30. More to whom, under promise of obedience, life and freedom will then be conquered and become a subject.

For example, with the religious or ideological yoke.

31. The submission of the subjects to their sovereign is understood to last as long and no longer, when the latter has the power to protect them.

A single requirement to be a subject.

32. The impostors do not need to study natural causes very much, but they need only use the common ignorance, stupidity and superstition of humanity.

The modus operandi of those who do not go face to face.

33. Equality of abilities brings about the equality of hopes in the achievement of our goals.

A moral maxim that is the premise of meritocracy.

34. I am about to embark on my last trip; I'm going to take the big leap in the dark.

About death.

35. Christ has not left his ministers of this world, unless they are also endowed with civil authority, no authority to command other men.

The authority is difficult to understand.


36. Rest leisures are the parents of Philosophy.

Another phrase of Hobbes in reference to the importance of leisure in the development of our thinking.

37. To the fear of an invisible power, feigned by the mind or imagined from stories that have been accepted by the public, we call it religion; if they have not been accepted, superstition.

Relevant reflection about beliefs.

38. How can a man who has not had a supernatural revelation make sure that he who declares that law has done so by revelation? And how can he be obliged to obey those laws?

Thought about the genesis of laws.

39. When a man, because of his natural roughness, seeks to retain what, being superfluous to him, is necessary for others, and, due to the stubbornness of his passions, can not be corrected, he will have to be expelled from society because it is a danger to her.

He deserves prison, according to Hobbes.

40. When a man reasons, he does not do anything other than conceive a total sum, by adding parts, or conceive a remainder by subtraction.

About our way of thinking

41. It follows that absurd and false claims - if they were universal - there can be no understanding, although many think that they understand them, when in reality they limit themselves to repeating words in a low voice or to learning them by heart.

A logical reasoning about human understanding.

42. Among the diseases of a State, I will therefore consider, first of all, those that arise from an imperfect institution and that resemble the diseases of a natural body that come from defective procreation.

Looking for metaphors between the health of a State and physical health.

43. So a person is the same as an actor, both on stage and in ordinary conversation.

We all act in the way that best suits us.

44. The fear of invisible things is the natural seed of what each one calls for religion.

A curious conception about religions.

45. The Papacy is nothing more than the ghost of the late Roman Empire.

A negative assessment about the Vatican.

46. ​​The power of the Pope, even if it were San Pedro, is not a monarchy, nor is it anything like an archean or a cratic, but only a didactic one.

Another phrase about the influence of the Pope.

47. The present exists only in nature; past things have their being only in memory; but the things that are to come have no existence, since the future is nothing other than a fiction that the factory mind attributing to present actions the consequences that were followed by past actions.

Ontological description.

48. Those men who base their knowledge on the authority of the books, and not on their own meditation, are of a lower condition than the simple ignorant.

Knowledge is useless without real experience.

49. It is manifest, therefore, that men do not know, but only believe that Scripture is the word of God.

A critique of religious faith.

50. It is the duty of the sovereign to make the people properly instructed; and it is not only his duty, but also his benefit and the way to insure himself against the danger that may come over his natural person, coming from a rebellion.

Education as a fundamental pillar of the reproduction of state structures.

51. The appearance of property is an effect of the institution of the State.

As such, the State has the mission to safeguard this right.

52. Good appearance is power, because, being a promise of good, it procures men for the favor of women and strangers.

Reflection on the good image.

53. The canonization of saints is another religion of gentility.

One of those christian rituals that are a bit dandy.

54The darkest part of the Kingdom of Satan is that which is outside the Churches of God, that is, between those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.

To reflect on faith.

55. The sciences bring with them little power, because they are not very visible and can not be recognized in any man.

Interesting reflection on the social weight of sciences.

56. The competition for wealth, honors, command or any other power leads to antagonism, enmity and war. Because the way a competitor gets his wishes is by killing, submitting, supplanting or rejecting whoever competes with him.

Liberalism carries with it a series of vices.

57. The truth is that the praise of the ancient writers does not come from a respect for the dead, but from competition and mutual envy that takes place among the living.

It is not possible to congratulate in life, fruit of the absurd competition between writers.

58. What gives human actions a taste of justice is that nobility or gallantry of courage, which occurs very rarely, which makes a man despise the advantages that could be obtained in his life as a result of fraud or brokenness of a promise.

Ethics as the hub of moral joy.

59. The ecclesiastics prevent young people from using their reason.

They do not let their critical capacity flow.

60. Christian states punish those who rebel against the Christian religion; and all states punish those who try to establish a religion that is forbidden by them.

On the doctrinal will of all States.

61. The Greeks only have one and the same word, logos, to signify language and reason.

There will be a reason for speaking with the same voice.

62. Influential individuals always have difficulty in digesting doctrines that establish a power capable of curbing their whims.

They always ambition more and more.

63. Those who are in charge of the government take care not to indirectly approve what they directly prohibit.

Done the law done the snare.

64. Men do not find pleasure, but great suffering, to live with others where there is no power capable of frightening them all.

According to Hobbes, man needs clear norms to live in peace.

65. But it is not the author, but the authority of the Church, that makes a book a canonical text.

Authority emanates from power, not from the author's unique and mystical vision.

66. Show yourself conciliatory with your adversary as long as you share the path with him, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the sheriff, and you be put in prison.

A great teaching to not be caught absurdly.

67. No man can know infallibly, by natural reason, if another has had a supernatural revelation of the will of God; will have only one belief.

Reflection about the mystical life.

68. No injustice can become the norm of judgment by which subsequent judges are guided.

Jurisprudence should be limited to manifestly fair cases.

69. There is no man who can have a thought or representation of something that is not subject to the sensory order.

Only perception gives us instruments for our imagination.

70. Originally, tyrant simply meant monarch.

For some reason the meaning was mutating.


Hobbesian - Top 175 Eponymous Adjectives of Famous People (June 2024).


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