Hobbes's Grounds for Belief in a Deity

Philosophy 37 (142):336 - 344 (1962)
I Propose to re-explore here some aspects of a very shop-worn question: ‘Was Hobbes in any sense an atheist?’ Three centuries ago, Hobbes's personal security in part depended on the way his contemporaries answered this question; today, the validity of several current accounts of his philosophy are similarly bound up with it. These accounts vary extraordinarily, all the way from Polin's confident assertion that ‘ pour qui sait lire entre les lignes, … c'est ľatheísme qui triomphe implicitement ’, to Taylor's equally firm belief that ‘a certain kind of theism is necessary to make [Hobbes's] theory work.’ 1 And now the latest of the Taylorians, Prof. Howard Warrender, has published his book The Political Philosophy of Hobbes , in which Hobbes's statements regarding the place of God are again treated as an essential part of his theory; and the charge explicitly made, that there are no sound grounds for regarding them as ‘the product of confusion or pretence on Hobbes's part’
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