Thomas Hobbes and the displacement of political philosophy
Purpose – This paper aims to demonstrate the pivotal role played by Thomas Hobbes in the displacement of political philosophy by economic science. Design/methodology/approach – The focus of the paper is an analysis of Hobbes' most clear and accessible work, The Leviathan. Findings – The paper shows that Hobbes was the first not only to enunciate comprehensively a mechanistic understanding of man as matter in motion but also, more importantly, to infer from this the logical conclusion that the only end for human kind is the preservation of the matter which the human race comprises. Economic science, being the science of material preservation, necessarily becomes, therefore, the true science of man and Hobbes the first political economist. Originality/value – Hobbes' application of the methodology of mathematics to analysing human behaviour was not unique. What is original in his writings, and not clearly recognized in the literature on the history of economic thought, is the clear link made by Hobbes between this adaptation and its logical consequence in the science of material production (or economics) as the true science of man.
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