UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Western philosophical tradition as the prime culprit : a new interpretation of Hobbes's diagnosis of the English Civil War Chengyi, Peng


There is little question that Hobbes's Leviathan and Behemoth are largely responding to the civil conflicts that were tearing seventeenth-century England apart, but scholars disagree in their interpretations of Hobbes's diagnosis and prescription for the civil war. Complementing previous interpretations, my MA thesis suggests that Hobbes also traces the source of the civil conflicts to Western philosophical tradition (WPT) itself both methodologically and substantially. Methodologically, ancient Western philosophers do not start their ratiocination process with definitions of the terms used, and Hobbes argues that this lack of adequate method leads to all kinds of absurdities and consequently a whole false reference world. This critique is largely based on Hobbes's materialist accounts of philosophy and mind. Substantially, Hobbes suggests that Aristotle's natural, moral and civil philosophies in particular contribute to the chaotic opinions and the civil conflicts. After detecting this source, Hobbes undertakes perhaps the most ambitious endeavor to exorcise the demon of the tradition in Western history, by radically scientizing the philosophical tradition and establishing a science of politics.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International