Seventeenth-century philosopher whose master work, Leviathan, was a key text in the development of political philosophy in the Western world.
He is famous for his commentary on the natural state of man: life, he said, is lonely, cruel, and too brief.
He and Enlightenment philosopher John Locke both supported the idea of "social contract theory," arguing that reasonable people can and should give up some of their individual freedoms and consent to rule by a higher power (whether the government or God).
He studied at Magdalen Hall, Oxford. One of his first philosophical publications was a 1640 treatise entitled "The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic."
His father, Thomas Hobbes Sr., served as Vicar of both Westport and Charlton. Thomas Hobbes Jr. was born prematurely, in part because of his mother's terror over the Spanish Armada's imminent invasion.