A study in the originality of Hobbes' political theories
Whitman, Ernest Avard
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These comments of W. R. Sorley asserting the originality of Hobbes arein conformity with the statements made by Hobbes himself; and togetherwith many others of similar purport, they interested me in the problemof Hobbes' originality, a problem which it is the purpose of this studyto examine. That these claims of Hobbes are variously interpreted willbe evident from the attitudes of his different critics. Yet, in general,they have been accepted as essentially accurate or at least have not beenseriously challenged. To get the viewpoint of various other authoritiesrelative to Hobbes' originality we shall first present their assertions,following which we shall bring together the available statements from thewritings of the philosopher of Malmesbury setting forth his claims todistinction as an original thinker. As will be seen, the quotations fromW. R. Sorley, in The Cambridge History of English Literature, VII, Hobbes' critics cited below fall into several classes: some suggestoriginality unqualifiedly, others conditionally, while still others withlittle or but cursory examination, indicate possible parallels or analogues.
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