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Thomas Hobbes

Great Lives, Series 26 Episode 3 of 9

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 20 December 2011

Thomas Hobbes: the writer and psychologist Steven Pinker joins Matthew Parris to discuss the life of the great English philosopher. Noel Malcolm from All Souls College, Oxford provides the expert analysis.
Power and violence are themes of the discussion of Hobbes who, Steven Pinker argues, was "perhaps the first cognitive psychologist." Although he was born in the late sixteenth century, we are fortunate to have some rich biographical description of Hobbes thanks to his contemporary and friend, the writer John Aubrey.
Now, the word Hobbesian is often used to describe a world in which life is "nasty, brutish and short." But Professor Pinker suggests Hobbes was actually "a nice man, despite the fact his name became a rather nasty adjective."

Producer: Chris Ledgard.



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    Great Lives

    Biography series exploring the greatest people who ever lived. Matthew Parris interviews an eminent…

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