While going through my personal memorabilia this evening, I came across this old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that I had found worthy to cut out and save.
Reading the cartoon, I thought that Calvin sounded a lot like the Protestant reformer John Calvin discussing the concept of Total Depravity – the idea that all people are born in sin. Thinking about that, I seemed to recall from deep in the depths of dim memories of my college Introduction to Philosophy class that there had been a philosopher named Hobbes. In fact, I know from Monty Python’s Bruces’ Philosophers Song that Hobbes was apparently very fond of his dram. I looked up Thomas Hobbes, and found that among his many ideas, and contributions to science and philosophy, he had been a strong proponent of the idea of democratic representation as the basis for legitimate political power. That sounded a lot like Hobbes the tiger in the comic strip to me. I realized that this couldn’t have been mere coincidence, especially given the spelling of Hobbes name(s).
So I looked up Calvin and Hobbes, and found this quote from the Wikipedia article on Bill Watterson – who drew Calvin and Hobbes:
Later, when Watterson was creating names for the characters in his comic strip, he decided upon Calvin (after the Protestant reformer John Calvin) and Hobbes (after the social philosopher Thomas Hobbes), allegedly as a “tip of the hat” to the political science department at Kenyon. In The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Watterson stated that Calvin is named for “a 16th-century theologian who believed in predestination,” and Hobbes for “a 17th-century philosopher with a dim view of human nature.”
I was always a fan of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Now I know why.