Leviathan: Or, The Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil

by Thomas Hobbes
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"The Life Of Man, Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, And Short"

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Last Updated on May 22, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 177

Context: When men are not kept in awe by a common power, says English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, a time of war exists for one of three common causes: competition, diffidence, or glory. Describing the conditions during a time of war, he continues:

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Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same is consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

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