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Hobbles and the Laws of Nature

Hobbes and the Law of Nature, by Perez Zagorin; Princeton University Press, 2009, 177 pages, US$29.95. Thomas Hobbes is known today as the political philosopher who wrote Leviathan. Although quoted frequently—“the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”—Leviathan is nevertheless a classic work comparable to, say, de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America—often cited but seldom read. This is a pity. Hobbes discussed the foundations of sovereign authority and political obligation in a way that still has much relevance. Perez Zagorin, who died last year, is the author of a number of well-received works, including one on Milton, and others…

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