Issue 40

October 2011

STRAY NEWS
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Group News (Cont’d)


Philosophy Group September 2011

At our first meeting of the new academic year we welcomed four new members. After the usual preliminaries we looked briefly at the life of Thomas Hobbes [1588-1679] who is the first subject of our studies this year.

Thomas Hobbes was very impressed with the method of scientific presentation and considered that his philosophy was a scientific approach to the subject and presented in a similar manner. He was held in high esteem during his lifetime and is considered to be the first modern philosopher, as he was the first major figure not to be influenced by religion.

He lived through very tumultuous times. Born in 1588 during the reign of Elizabeth the First  at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, with constant battles in Ireland and strife between the Catholics and Protestants, although Elizabeth tried to reduce that and encourage greater tolerance between them, provided that there were no plots against her or the state.


1603 The ascent of James the First of England

1604 Britain and Spain make peace.

1605 Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.

1620 The Pilgrim Fathers set sail for Massachusetts.

1625 Charles the First succeeds James the First. Clashes with parliament increase.

1640 Charles summons the ‘Long Parliament.

1642 Civil war breaks out, The royal family flee London.

1644 Cromwell defeats Prince Rupert in the battle of Marsden Moor.

1645 Civil war ends.

1648 The Scots start the 2nd civil war.

1649 Charles the First executed.

1652 The Act of Settlement for Ireland was passed.

1658 Oliver Cromwell dies.

!660 Charles the Second becomes King.

1665 The Great Plague.

1666 The fire of London.

1679 The death of Thomas Hobbes


His major work was the Leviathan, first published in 1651 and it is that work which we shall be considering. In it Hobbes lays out his ideas of how a state should be governed. We first looked at his introduction, reading and discussing it a section at a time. The word Leviathan is used in the bible to describe a vast creature and Hobbes uses it to describe a large number of people in a commonwealth or state, He likens the leviathan to a large mechanical man or automata, [an engine that moves itself by springs and wheels].

He then sets out to describe this artificial man, firstly by considering how a creature such as man actually works, and secondly; how and by what covenants it is made and what are the rights and just power of a sovereign. Continuing the method of reading and then discussing a section at a time we progressed through chapter one ‘Of Sense’. Hobbes view of how our senses are activated. At our next meeting we shall continue in a similar manner.


Singing for Pleasure

We are going with a swing and are now 40 strong, having had a very good and successful year. Over the next few months we will be concentrating on Christmas music and have concerts already booked. Our membership is closed but if there is a tenor out there he will be very welcome. However, we still have a waiting list.

Elizabeth Turner

Theatre Group

Throughout the year we have visited the theatres in Harrogate, York and Leeds. Performances we have seen include Yes Prime Minister, Coppelia, Hamlet, To Kill a Mocking Bird and Agatha Christie’s Verdict. Our current programme ends in October with visits to King Lear and 40 Years on. These are already booked but if you would like details of the new Spring programme which will be available early in 2012.


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