The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Hobbes, Thomas (1588–1679)

  • C. B. Macpherson
Reference work entry


The greatest English political theorist and philosopher, Hobbes was born at Malmesbury and died at Hardwick, the seat of the Earl of Devonshire, who had been Hobbes’s patron for many years. After attending Magdalen Hall, Oxford (BA 1608), Hobbes entered the Devonshire household as tutor to the son, and made several trips to the Continent, on one of which (in 1636) he conversed with Galileo, whose resolutive-compositive method Hobbes took over, and whose laws of motion he later carried over and applied to the motions, internal and external, of men. In 1640, fearing that his earliest work would offend the Long Parliament, he went into voluntary exile in Paris, where for a time (1646–8) he tutored the future Charles II in mathematics. He returned to England in 1651 and from then on lived as inconspicuously as he could.

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  1. Macpherson, C.B. 1983. Hobbes’s political economy. Philosophical Forum 14 (3–4).Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. B. Macpherson
    • 1
  1. 1.