Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher who was roiled by the bloodshed and turmoil of the English Civil War. During this period of ceaseless in-fighting, he wrote his masterpiece, Leviathan, which established the foundation for Western political thought. His work has inspired both hate and awe, as he reveals the darker side of human nature and the value of authority. Though he claims man's nature is inherently competitive and selfish, he also shows us how to utilize these traits to our advantage to flourish, be fearless, and free.
Hannah Dawson is a senior lecturer in the History of Ideas at the New College of the Humanities, London.