For evidence of Hobbes's applying the method just described to bodies politic, commentators usually fasten on a passage from De Cive's Preface to the Reader. 'Concerning my method,' Hobbes writes,

I thought it not sufficient to use a plain and evident style in what I had to deliver, except I took my beginning from the very matter of civil government, and thence proceeded to its generation and form, and the first beginning of justice. For everything is best understood by its constitutive causes. For as in a watch, or some such small engine, the matter, figure and motion of the wheels cannot be known, except it be taken insunder and viewed in parts; so to make a more curious search into the rights of states and duties of subjects, it is necessary, I say, not to take them insunder, but yet that they be so considered as if they were dissolved; that is, that one rightly understand what the quality of human nature is, in what matters it is, and in what not, fit to make up a civil government, and how men must be agreed amongst themselves that intend to grow up into a well-grounded state (E II xiv).