Want to know what books Jonathan Sumption recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Jonathan Sumption's favorite book recommendations of all time.
Written during the chaos of the English Civil War, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan asks how, in a world of violence and horror, can we stop ourselves from descending into anarchy? Hobbes' case for a 'common-wealth' under a powerful sovereign - or 'Leviathan' - to enforce security and the rule of law, shocked his contemporaries, and his book was publicly burnt for sedition the moment it was published. But his penetrating work of political philosophy - now fully revised and with a new introduction for this edition - opened... more
Jonathan SumptionThe best reason for reading Hobbes is that no other philosopher has ever used the English language to such powerful effect. It is a really remarkable feat of dialectic. You find yourself agreeing with him at each stage of the reasoning as he builds up his case then, quite suddenly, you find that you’ve arrived at a conclusion which seems intolerable. (Source)
Published in 1859, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty presented one of the most eloquent defenses of individual freedom in nineteenth-century social and political philosophy and is today perhaps the most widely-read liberal argument in support of the value of liberty. Mill's passionate advocacy of spontaneity, individuality, and diversity, along with his contempt for compulsory uniformity and the despotism of popular opinion, has attracted both admiration and condemnation. less
Nick CleggThe tradition is that it is given to the president of the Liberal Democrats rather than the leader, which is a subtle but important distinction in Lib Dem land. But you’re quite right. The traditions of J. S. Mill are still handed down like some sort of totemic emblem of everything that we’re supposed to still believe in, even now. It’s extraordinary, given it was written in 1859……What we’re... (Source)
In this brilliant short book, Britain's former senior law lord, and one of the world's most acute legal minds, examines what the idea actually means. He makes clear that the rule of law is not an arid legal doctrine but is the foundation of a fair and just society, is a guarantee of responsible government, is an important contribution to... more
Max MosleyWhat’s interesting about The Rule of Law is that it’s written by someone who was until very recently the UK’s most senior judge, Lord Bingham. It’s comforting because it shows that the highest level of the judiciary is really interested in the liberty of the individual and freedom in all its various guises. It’s also got all sorts of fascinating little pieces in it. For example, he criticises the... (Source)
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