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The Hobbesian Project: Science, Politics, Worship

A Cromartiea Max Weber Occasional Talk

Alan Cromartie (University of Reading)

27 April 2017, 17:00-19:00



The Max Weber Occasional Talks are informal seminars by distinguished scholars invited by members of the Programme as the academic year develops.


Hobbes was by any standards a late developer: by his own account, his efforts to do 'Philosophy' did not begin till he was 47.  

As might have been expected, though, he had attitudes and assumptions that developed earlier and that continuously shaped his philosophic efforts.  A surprising amount can be deduced about these attitudes.  

A biographical investigation illuminates the character of what he set out to achieve, and thus, at least to some extent, the strengths and weaknesses of the political ideas that he has given us.  It enables us to see contrasts between his early thinking and that of most of his contemporaries, but also to see interesting continuities with the Aristotelian scholasticism he affected to despise.  It is particularly informative on the relationship between deterministic science and his attempts to understand the passions.  The result is a helpful perspective on the science of politics.

About the speaker

Alan Cromartie is Professor of the History of Political Thought at the University of Reading.  

He is the author of 'Sir Matthew Hale: law, religion and natural philosophy' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) and 'The constitutionalist revolution: an essay on the history of England' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), and the editor of 'A dialogue between a philosopher and a student, of the common laws of England' for the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).  

He was also the Director of the Leverhulme Trust Liberal Way of War Programme, for which he edited Liberal Wars: Anglo-American strategy, ideology and practice (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015).

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