Chapter

Hobbes and the European Republic of Letters

Noel Malcolm

in Aspects of Hobbes

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780199247141
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597992 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199247145.003.0014
 Hobbes and the European Republic of Letters

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Assesses the European reception of Hobbes's thought from c.1640 to c.1750. It begins by discussing the publishing history of his works on the Continent, and the various attempts to edit or translate them. Then it considers the reception of his writings, dividing the European writers into three categories: the defenders of orthodoxy, who reacted against Hobbes's ideas because they regarded them as extreme; the radicals, who celebrated and developed his ideas—also because they regarded them as extreme; and a broader third category, consisting of those who engaged in more or less positive ways with Hobbesian theories, not to shake the foundations of orthodoxy, but to develop arguments and positions within the intellectual mainstream. It suggests that this third category was larger and more significant than has hitherto been recognized. Finally, the essay considers Hobbes's own relationship to the ‘Republic of Letters’ of his time.

Keywords: censorship; early Enlightenment; Hobbes; Republic of Letters

Chapter.  52502 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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