London: Printed for W. Crooke, 1682. 8vo. [viii], 339,  (publisher’s advertisements); [iv], 160; [viii], 84 pp., plus leaf of publisher’s advertisements. FIRST EDITION. With folding engraved plate. Engraved frontispiece portrait and folding engraved plate, woodcut initials and headpieces. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, rebacked, spine label, early marbled fore-edge; interior excellent. Armorial bookplate of Sir Francis Boilean (From the library of Lord Nugent) and small book label of George Goyder (1826-1898), Surveyor General of South Australia. Item #17497
First edition. Although Hobbes penned the four essays in this volume decades earlier, this is the first posthumous appearance of all the tracts published together. The four essays here include Behemoth, the history of the causes of the civil wars of England; An answer to Arch-bishop Bramhall’s book, called The catching of the Leviathan; An historical narration of heresie, and the punishment thereof; and Philosophical problems, dedicated to the King in 1662. Hobbes wrote Behemoth in the late 1660’s and focused his account on the interplay of religion and human ambition. He composed the second essay in 1668 as a response to his long-time foe, John Bramhall an Anglican bishop who was particularly incensed at Hobbes’s notion of free-will. Printed with this essay is Hobbes’s history of heresy, which he was accused of on a number of occasions, which shows his advocacy of religious tolerance. The last essay concerns his attempts to solve certain philosophical problems with Euclidean geometry, and illustrated by the folding plate. According to the publisher, An answer to Arch-bishop Bramhall’s book and Philosophical problems are printed here for the first time.
Hobbes (1588–1679) was one of the most distinguished English philosophers of his time and is best known for his work Leviathan. His relationship with Galileo informed his adoption of the mechanistic interpretation of the universe. This in turn led to his deterministic viewpoint and belief that man is “free” to do anything he desires. Hobbes’ writings on the subject made him one of the most controversial figures in the seventeenth century.