Hobbes on Liberty

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Part I, Chapter XIV

The right of nature, which writers commonly call jus naturale, isthe liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life; and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own judgment, and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.

By liberty, is understood, according to the proper signification of the word, the absence of external impediments: whichimpediments, may oft take away part of a man’s power to do what he would; but cannot hinder him from using the power left him, according as his judgment, and reason shall dictate to him.

Source:  Online Library of Liberty, Liberty Fund, Inc.

About William Kline

William Kline is an assistant professor in the department of Liberal and Integrative Studies at the University of Illinois, Springfield.
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