In the 17th century, Hobbes stated that we reason by addition and subtraction. Historians of logic note that Hobbes thought of reasoning as “a ‘species of computation’” but point out that “his writing contains in fact no attempt to work out such a project.” Though Leibniz mentions the plus/minus character of the positive and negative copulas, neither he nor Hobbes say anything about a plus/minus character of other common logical words that drive our deductive judgments, words like ‘some’, ‘all’, ‘if’, (...) and ‘and’, each of which actually turns out to have an oppositive, character that allows us, “in our silent reasoning,” to ignore its literal meaning and to reckon with it as one reckons with a plus or a minus operator in elementary algebra or arithmetic. These ‘logical constants’ of natural language figure crucially in our everyday reasoning. Because Hobbes and Leibniz did not identify them as the plus and minus words we reason with, their insight into what goes on in ‘ratiocination’ did not provide a guide for a research program that could develop a +/- logic that actually describes how we reason deductively. I will argue that such a +/- logic provides a way back from modern predicate logic—the logic of quantifiers and bound variables that is now ‘standard logic’—to an Aristotelian term logic of natural language that had been the millennial standard logic. (shrink)
Stewart Duncan’s excellent book Materialism from Hobbes to Locke offers an insightful study of the debates concerning materialism during the seventeenth century. When we hear the expression ‘materialism’, we often associate with it the question of whether the human mind is an entirely material entity. Although the question of whether the human mind is material plays an important role throughout the seventeenth-century debates examined in this book, Duncan offers a broader understanding of materialism that is not restricted to the human (...) mind. According to Duncan, materialism is ‘a view about some object or a group of objects. Often that object is the human mind’ (2), but materialism can also concern other objects such as animal minds or God. This leads Duncan to introduce materialism as ‘the view that the thing in question is wholly material, and has no immaterial part’ (2). He deliberately leaves open what it means to be material, because different philosophers featured in his book disagree about this question. (shrink)
We look at some interesting and important episodes in the life of early modern Epicureanism, focusing on natural philosophy. We begin with two early moderns who had a great deal to say about ancient Epicureanism: Pierre Gassendi and Ralph Cudworth. Looking at how Gassendi and Cudworth conceived of Epicureanism gives us a sense of what the early moderns considered important in the ancient tradition. It also points us towards three main themes of early modern Epicureanism in natural philosophy, which we (...) then discuss at greater length: atomism, materialism about the mind or soul, and the denial of providence, which was often accompanied by deflationary explanations of religious belief. (shrink)
L'analyse des rapports entre les concepts de temps et de mouvement dans la philosophie première de Hobbes permet de confirmer la dimension dynamique de son matérialisme qui ne prend sens qu'avec la théorie unifiée du conatus. Elle nous conduit aussi à reconsidérer le nominalisme radical qu'on lui attribue généralement, à partir d'une interrogation sur le statut de ce que Hobbes appelle la puissance imaginative. The analysis of the relations between the concepts of time and movement in Hobbes' first philosophy allows (...) that dynamic dimension of his materialism which only takes on meaning with the unified theory of the conatus, to be confirmed. It also leads us to reconsider the radical nominalism that is generally attributed to him, by means of an interrogation of the status of what Hobbes calls imaginative power. (shrink)
This book presents a new interpretation of the seventeenth-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes’s philosophy of religion. I argue that the key to Hobbes’s treatment of religion is his theory of religious language. On that theory, the proper function of religious speech is not to affirm truths, state facts, or describe anything, but only to express non-descriptive attitudes of honor, reverence, and humility before God, the incomprehensible great cause of nature. The traditional vocabulary of theism, natural religion, and even scriptural religion is (...) preserved intact, but only as a system of natural and conventional signs of honor, as we laud the ‘infinite,’ ‘wise,’ and ‘good’ cause of nature, and speak of it in conventionally-approved scriptural terms—not in an attempt to describe it, but only as a way of expressing our veneration. The proposed reading undercuts the most influential alternative interpretations, revealing that Hobbes is neither an atheist, nor a literal-minded theist with a realist conception of the traditional divine attributes. At the same time, understanding Hobbes’s non-descriptivist approach to religious discourse helps us to see why so many have found either an atheistic or a realist-minded theistic interpretation attractive. The book advances a comprehensive analysis of Hobbes’s highly original philosophy of religion, including both his treatment of natural religion and his treatment of revealed religion and scripture. It also connects his philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and theory of human nature to his engagé religious politics, including his views on religious toleration, sectarianism, religious education, ecclesiology, and the religious function of the civil state. (shrink)
Are human beings purely material creatures, or is there something else to them, an immaterial part that does some (or all) of the thinking, and might even be able to outlive the death of the body? This book is about how a series of seventeenth-century philosophers tried to answer that question. It begins by looking at the views of Thomas Hobbes, who developed a thoroughly materialist account of the human mind, and later of God as well.
This thesis develops a novel framework for explaining delusions. In Chapter 1, I introduce the two fundamental challenges posed by delusions: the evidence challenge lies in explaining the flagrant ways delusions flout evidence; and the specificity challenge lies in explaining the fact that patients’ delusions are often about a few specific themes, and patients rarely have a wide range of delusional or odd beliefs. In Chapter 2, I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current theories of delusions, which typically appeal (...) to one or both of two factors: anomalous experience and reasoning abnormality. I argue that anomalous experience can help explain the specificity of delusions, but has difficulties in addressing the evidence challenge; reasoning abnormality can help address the evidence challenge, but has difficulties in explaining the specificity of delusions. This suggests that there may be an important factor that has not been captured by current theories of delusions. To search for this missing factor, in Chapter 3, I turn to normal believing. Inspired by the literature on Cartesian clarity and phenomenal dogmatism, I develop a dual-force framework of believing, according to which beliefs can be understood as the results of the interaction between the justificatory force and causal force of evidence and the justificatory force and causal force of clear experience, in which something clearly seems to be so to the subject. This framework suggests that the missing factor may be the clear experience with its distinctive phenomenal clarity that compels assent. In Chapter 4, I return to delusions, and argue that the dualforce framework can help us to get a better grip on some personal descriptions of delusions; make progress in addressing the evidence and specificity challenges of delusions; and shed new light on the underpinnings of delusions. In the end, I conclude with some remaining questions for future study. (shrink)
This essay will examine and compare concepts of body and space in the respective systems of Hobbes and Descartes. Rather than provide an exhaustive analysis of these similarities and differences, several key issues will be highlighted that reveal the distinctive traits of Hobbes’s approach to these issues as compared with Descartes. While some of Hobbes’s hypotheses seem closer to Descartes, such as the importance of extension in the conception of body, others are more unique, such as Hobbes’s appeal to phantasms (...) and imaginary space, as well as his understanding of void space. Overall, the basic similarities among their competing schemes does not obscure the importance of the many innovative, and sometimes problematic, features manifest in Hobbes’s theory. (shrink)
The early modern period is arguably the most pivotal of all in the study of the mind, teeming with a variety of conceptions of mind. Some of these posed serious questions for assumptions about the nature of the mind, many of which still depended on notions of the soul and God. It is an era that witnessed the emergence of theories and arguments that continue to animate the study of philosophy of mind, such as dualism, vitalism, materialism, and idealism. -/- (...) Covering pivotal figures in philosophy such as Descartes, Hobbes, Kant, Leibniz, Cavendish, and Spinoza, Philosophy of Mind in the Early Modern and Modern Ages provides an outstanding survey of philosophy of mind of the period. Following an introduction by Rebecca Copenhaver, sixteen specially commissioned chapters by an international team of contributors discuss key topics, thinkers, and debates, including: -/- Hobbes, Descartes’ philosophy of mind and its early critics, consciousness, the later Cartesians, Malebranche, Cavendish, Locke, Spinoza, Descartes and Leibniz, perception and sensation, desires, mental substance and mental activity, Hume, and Kant. Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, enlightenment philosophy, and the history of philosophy, Philosophy of Mind in the Early Modern and Modern Ages is also a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as religion, history of psychology, and history of science. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes, który badaniu języka poświęcił wiele miejsca, zastanawiał się, czy możliwe jest myślenie — myślenie w ogóle i myślenie abstrakcyjne — bez języka? Hobbes zakładał, że ludzie pozbawieni języka mogą tworzyć własne, niedoskonałe, prywatne języki, pozwalające im na swoiście rozumiane rozumowanie. Na Hobbesowskie pytanie trzysta lat później odpowiada twierdząco wybitny neurolog i literat Oliver Sacks. Na podstawie danych, jakie przyniosła mu praca z osobami głuchymi, nieznającymi żadnego, nawet migowego, języka, dowodzi, że słowa i inne znaki umowne stają się niezbędne (...) dopiero na pewnym etapie procesu myślowego, że myśl jest czymś znacznie szerszym niż słowo, że można — w pewnym sensie — myśleć bez słów. Jak wcześniej Hobbes, Sacks podkreśla, że myślenie, w którym nie korzysta się z powszechnie przyjętych znaków, ma jednak charakter ułomny i niepełny; myślenie takie nie znajduje uzewnętrznienia, izoluje jednostkę z życia w społeczeństwie. (shrink)
In Metaphysical Themes, Robert Pasnau interprets Thomas Hobbes as an anti-realist about all accidents in general. In opposition to Pasnau, we argue that Hobbes is a realist about some accidents (e.g., motion and magnitude). Section One presents Pasnau’s position on Hobbes; namely, that Hobbes is an unqualified anti-realist of the eliminativist sort. Section Two offers reasons to reject Pasnau’s interpretation. Hobbes explains that magnitude is mind-independent, and he offers an account of perception in terms of motion (understood as a mind-independent (...) feature of body). Therefore, it seems incorrect to call Hobbes an anti-realist about all accidents. Section Three considers Pasnau’s hypothetical response: he might claim that for Hobbes, motion reduces to body and does not exist in its own right. Section Four notes that reductionism about all accidents does not entail anti-realism about all accidents. Even granting Pasnau’s anticipated response, his anti-realist reading does not follow. Contra Pasnau, Hobbes is best understood as claiming that motion and magnitude exist mind-independently. (shrink)
L’histoire de la pensée sémiotique se caractérise par une oscillation entre définition large et définition étroite de son objet. Au Moyen Âge, la définition augustinienne du signe est jugée trop étroite, car elle ne concerne que le signe sensible. De nouvelles définitions tentent alors de faire des concepts des signes qui renvoient aux choses. L’Âge moderne, au contraire, affirme une volonté de rétrécissement à l’égard de la notion de signe. Cet article montrera les caractéristiques d’une telle réflexion sémiotique à travers (...) deux auteurs représentatifs d’un premier empirisme moderne : Pierre Gassendi et Thomas Hobbes. Le retour à une sémiotique étroite s’effectue par la référence aux traditions stoïcienne, sceptique et épicurienne, ainsi qu’à un Aristote renouvelé, et par une prédilection affichée pour la valeur indiciaire du signe par rapport à sa valeur sémantique. Ceci veut dire que les empiristes vont insister avant tout sur la fonction remémorative du signe et sur sa valeur de probabilité. L’indice en tant que trace sera ainsi privilégié par rapport au signe communicationnel, et il s’agira d’en défendre la validité en tant qu’il s’inscrit dans une échelle de certitude, au sommet de laquelle se situe la preuve. (shrink)
Hobbes political thought is based on his twofold analysis of mankind: Human being, on one hand, as a composed material body in the network of mechanical forces follows his desires and passions. He, on the other hand, studies the concepts of right and duty in order to establish community through contract. Hobbes tries to reconcile his political system with materialistic analysis of human behavior. For this reason, in Hobbes thought, to be aware of political organization depends on recognizing human nature (...) and to recognize human passions and moods depends on the recognition of mechanical principles and physical laws. Hobbes’s ethics and politics are compatible with his mechanical materialism as well, and they are occasionally explained on the same ground. Our leading questions in this paper are as follows: 1. what are the characteristics of human nature as one of the main elements of Hobbes psychological system? 2. How has Hobbes compiled his political philosophy on the basis of human nature characteristics? This paper mainly claims that Human nature is based on the principles of motion and mechanical principles in Hobbes view, and as a result, mankind has not been able to establish political community naturally. Mankind is civil not naturally but compulsorily and should be forced to be social, that is to say, the political society order is not natural order but artificial one which is manifested in the content of contract items. Therefore Hobbes mechanical psychology prepare the way for his civil philosophy. (shrink)
This article shows how the specific interaction and mutual dependence between language and curiosity accounts for the more general dialectic between reason and passion in Hobbes’ philosophy, providing the distinguishing trait of human beings and their behaviour.
We do not generally take the Hobbesian project to be one that encourages human flourishing. I will argue that it is; indeed, I will propose that Hobbes attempts the first modern project to provide for the possibility of the diversity of human flourishing in the civil state. To do so, I will draw on the recent work of Donald Rutherford, who takes Hobbes to be a eudaimonist in the Aristotelian tradition.
By focusing on the exchange between Descartes and Hobbes on how the self is related to its activities, Berkeley draws attention to how he and Hobbes explain the forensic constitution of human subjectivity and moral/political responsibility in terms of passive obedience and conscientious submission to the laws of the sovereign. Formulated as the language of nature or as pronouncements of the supreme political power, those laws identify moral obligations by locating political subjects within those networks of sensible signs. When thus (...) juxtaposed with Hobbes, Berkeley can be understood as endorsing a theologically inflected version of deontological ethics in which moral laws are linked directly to the constitution of the self. (shrink)
This book provides an overview of key features of (philosophical) materialism, in historical perspective. It is, thus, a study in the history and philosophy of materialism, with a particular focus on the early modern and Enlightenment periods, leading into the 19th and 20th centuries. For it was in the 18th century that the word was first used by a philosopher (La Mettrie) to refer to himself. Prior to that, ‘materialism’ was a pejorative term, used for wicked thinkers, as a near-synonym (...) to ‘atheist’, ‘Spinozist’ or the delightful ‘Hobbist’. The book provides the different forms of materialism, particularly distinguished into claims about the material nature of the world and about the material nature of the mind, and then focus on materialist approaches to body and embodiment, selfhood, ethics, laws of nature, reductionism and determinism, and overall, its relationship to science. For materialism is often understood as a kind of philosophical facilitator of the sciences, and the author want to suggest that is not always the case. Materialism takes on different forms and guises in different historical, ideological and scientific contexts as well, and the author wants to do justice to that diversity. Figures discussed include Lucretius, Hobbes, Gassendi, Spinoza, Toland, Collins, La Mettrie, Diderot, d’Holbach and Priestley; Büchner, Bergson, J.J.C. Smart and D.M. Armstrong. (shrink)
Many critics, Descartes himself included, have seen Hobbes as uncharitable or even incoherent in his Objections to the Meditations on First Philosophy. I argue that when understood within the wider context of his views of the late 1630s and early 1640s, Hobbes's Objections are coherent and reflect his goal of providing an epistemology consistent with a mechanical philosophy. I demonstrate the importance of this epistemology for understanding his Fourth Objection concerning the nature of the wax and contend that Hobbes's brief (...) claims in that Objection are best understood as a summary of the mechanism for scientific knowledge found in his broader work. Far from displaying his confusion, Hobbes's Fourth Objection in fact pinpoints a key weakness of Descartes's faculty psychology: its unintelligibility within a mechanical philosophy. (shrink)
In the early years of the eighteenth century Leibniz had several interactions with John Toland. These included, from 1702 to 1704, discussions of materialism. Those discussions culminated with the consideration of Toland's 1704 Letters to Serena, where Toland argued that matter is necessarily active. In this paper I argue for two main theses about this exchange and its consequences for our wider understanding. The first is that, despite many claims that Toland was at the time of Letters to Serena a (...) Spinozist, we can make better sense of him as a sort of Hobbesian materialist. The second main point concerns reasons for materialism, and in particular a story Locke tells in the Essay about materialists' motives. Toland defends his materialism by arguing that matter is active, and argues that matter is active by using a conceivability argument. But this is not the crude conceivability argument that Locke suggests motivates materialists. This (together with reflecting on some of Hobbes's arguments) suggests that we might well tell a Lockean story about reasons for early modern materialism, but not Locke's story. (shrink)
This is a short (1,000 word) introduction to Hobbes's materialism, covering (briefly) such issues as what the relevant notion of materialism is, Hobbes's debate with Descartes, and what Hobbes's arguments for materialism were.
Leviathan by Hobbes is one of the most original books in political theory ever written. Broad is scope, rich in ideas and bold in its claims; it contains much more than just political theory. The article focuses on Hobbes’s presentation of human nature, in particular in light of the then new thesis that universe is matter in motion; on observation how human automata whom Hobbes created (as it were) live in state of nature and under authority of “the leviathan”; and (...) on the impact of man’s and woman’s nature on their natural rights. Hobbes pioneered a host of ideas that became a staple food for early modern political thought—state of nature, social contract, individualism, or inalienable rights. The article reviews them and concludes that in spite of illiberal conclusions of his political theory, Hobbes is a proto-liberal thinker that paved the way for Locke and others. (shrink)
This chapter examines the views of seventeenth-century British philosophers on passions and affections. It explains that about 8,000 books published during this period mentioned passion and that it started with Thomas Wright's Passions of the Mind in General. The chapter also explores the intellectual basis of the writers who wrote about passion – which includes Augustinianism, Aristotelianism, stoicism, Epicureanism, and medicine – and furthermore, analyzes the relevant works of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Henry More, and Lord Shaftesbury.
This paper examines recent feminist work on Spinoza and identifies the elements of Spinoza’s philosophy that have been seen as promising for feminist naturalism. I argue that the elements of Spinoza’s work that feminist theorists have found so promising are precisely those concepts he derives from Hobbes. I argue that the misunderstanding of Hobbes as architect of the egoist model of human nature has effaced his contribution to Spinoza’s more praised conception of the human individual. Despite misconceptions, I argue that (...) the model of human nature, the view on human emotions and the conception of individual power that Hobbes created and Spinoza developed is an uncommonly useful one for feminist political theory. Through reexamining Hobbes’ model of human nature and the emotions I will argue that Hobbes’ theory of the internal weighing of emotions provides an important mechanism for understanding how the individuals’ affects can be reformed. I will show how we can use this naturalistic model of the human individual to answer contemporary theoretical and practical questions of how to empower women and how to effectively identify, challenge and change social categories, norms and institutions which are disempowering. In particular, I will argue that feminist projects of empowerment need a way to measure empowerment and a way to understand how to understand the power of harmful norms and customs. Understanding the way certain norms and practices disempower women while forming their affects and self‐conceptions provides the first step to reform of these practices. Spinoza and Hobbes provide us with a further tool to reform, and that is their understanding of the role of emotions in human action and power, and the need to reform and reorganize the emotions of individuals in order to escape harmful patterns of behavior. (shrink)
The article explains the nature of the power of imagination conceived from the perspective of the evolution of the notion in the 17th and 18th century British empiricism. Taking as a starting point Hobbes’ materialistic and mechanistic philosophical system we reconstruct the change of thought in Locke’s, Berkley’s and finally in Hume’s analyses. At the same time we observe the increase of those philosophers’ interest in associational relations and change in perceiving the role these relations played in the process of (...) cognition as well as in the acts of imagination, anticipation or reasoning. (shrink)
This paper discusses the materialist views of Margaret Cavendish, focusing on the relationships between her views and those of two of her contemporaries, Thomas Hobbes and Henry More. It argues for two main claims. First, Cavendish's views sit, often rather neatly, between those of Hobbes and More. She agreed with Hobbes on some issues and More on others, while carving out a distinctive alternative view. Secondly, the exchange between Hobbes, More, and Cavendish illustrates a more general puzzle about just what (...) divided materialists from their opponents. Seemingly straightforward disagreements about whether incorporeal substances exist turn out to be more complex ones in which the nature of those things is disputed at the same time as their existence. (shrink)
The materialist approach to the body is often, if not always understood in ‘mechanistic’ terms, as the view in which the properties unique to organic, living embodied agents are reduced to or described in terms of properties that characterize matter as a whole, which allow of mechanistic explanation. Indeed, from Hobbes and Descartes in the 17th century to the popularity of automata such as Vaucanson’s in the 18th century, this vision of things would seem to be correct. In this paper (...) I aim to correct this inaccurate vision of materialism. On the contrary, the materialist project on closer consideration reveals itself to be, significantly if not exclusively, (a) a body of theories specifically focused on the contribution that ‘biology’ or rather ‘natural history’ and physiology make to metaphysical debates, (b) much more intimately connected to what we now call ‘vitalism’ (a case in point is the presence of Théophile de Bordeu, a prominent Montpellier physician and theorist of vitalism, as a fictional character and spokesman of materialism, in Diderot’s novel D’Alembert’s Dream), and ultimately (c) an anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. To establish this revised vision of materialism I examine philosophical texts such as La Mettrie’s Man a Machine and Diderot’s D’Alembert’s Dream; medical entries in the Encyclopédie by physicians such as Ménuret and Fouquet; and clandestine combinations of all such sources (Fontenelle, Gaultier and others). (shrink)
The notion of signification is an important part of Hobbes's philosophy of language. It also has broader relevance, as Hobbes argues that key terms used by his opponents are insignificant. However Hobbes's talk about names' signification is puzzling, as he appears to have advocated conflicting views. This paper argues that Hobbes endorsed two different views of names' signification in two different contexts. When stating his theoretical views about signification, Hobbes claimed that names signify ideas. Elsewhere he talked as if words (...) signified the things they named. Seeing this does not just resolve a puzzle about Hobbes's statements about signification. It also helps us to understand how Hobbes's arguments about insignificant speech work. With one important exception, they depend on the view that names signify things, not on Hobbes's stated theory that words signify ideas. The paper concludes by discussing whether arguments about insignificant speech can provide independent support for Hobbes's views about other issues, such as materialism. (shrink)
This article introduces the doctrine of the passions in the Hobbesian work, showing its debt with tradition, especially the scholastic Aristotelian one, even if, at the same time, it offers some breach features with this tradition, which are also analysed. In addition, the fundamentals of imagination manifest themselves in the appetitive process, in Hobbes's doctrine as well as in the scholastic Aristotelian tradition, showing their similarities and differences.
This paper considers three accounts of the relationship between personal immortality and materialism. In particular, the pagan mortalism of the Epicureans is compared with the Christian mortalism of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. It is argued 1) that there are significant similarities between these views, 2) that Locke and Hobbes were, to some extent, influenced by the Epicureans, and 3) that the relation between (im)mortality and (im)materialism is not as straightforward as is commonly supposed.
I consider Leibniz's thoughts about Hobbes's materialism, focusing on his less-discussed later thoughts about the topic. Leibniz understood Hobbes to have argued for his materialism from his imagistic theory of ideas. Leibniz offered several criticisms of this argument and the resulting materialism itself. Several of these criticisms occur in texts in which Leibniz was engaging with the generation of British philosophers after Hobbes. Of particular interest is Leibniz's correspondence with Damaris Masham. Leibniz may have been trying to communicate with Locke, (...) but ended up discussing Masham's version of the argument for materialism that Leibniz attributed to Hobbes. (shrink)
The author proposes that the anonymous letter dated May 19th 1641 and delivered to Descartes by Mersenne should be attributed to Thomas Hobbes. Although the content is known, what scholars are usually more interested in are Descartes’ two replies, which contain important clarifications on the proof of God’s existence. That the letter was written by Hobbes is revealed by various thematic, conceptual, and lexical analogies and, above all, by the presence of two doctrines characteristic of his thought: 1) the denial (...) of the existence of intellectual ideas; 2) the assertion that the nature of God can only be described by the proposition "God exists". Attributing this letter to Hobbes throws new light on the debate that followed Descartes’ Meditations as well as on the role played by Mersenne. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), whose current reputation rests largely on his political philosophy, was a thinker with wide ranging interests. In philosophy, he defended a range of materialist, nominalist, and empiricist views against Cartesian and Aristotelian alternatives. In physics, his work was influential on Leibniz, and lead him into disputes with Boyle and the experimentalists of the early Royal Society. In history, he translated Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War into English, and later wrote his own history of the Long Parliament. (...) In mathematics he was less successful, and is best remembered for his repeated unsuccessful attempts to square the circle. But despite that, Hobbes was a serious and prominent participant in the intellectual life of his time. (shrink)
The paper considers the part of Thomas Hobbes's 'natural man' in the construction of a culturally shared fantasy regarding pre-social humanity, and the marginalization of 'excluded' citizens who are seen in various ways to approximate that fantasy. While Hobbes did not valorize his hypothetical 'natural man,' I argue that his particularly dark elaboration of it lent an ambivalence to this ideal, which thereby enables it to function as a fantasy. With the aid of psychoanalytic theory, the paper explores the relation (...) of Hobbes's psychology of perception to his political philosophy; with particular attention to the resonances between Hobbes's account of the imagination and emotion, and the psychoanalytic notion of fantasy. The fantasy of the pre-contract natural man is then drawn upon to illustrate some concrete social relations which marginalize certain kinds of subject, understood as both 'innocent' and a threat to the community. (shrink)
Hobbes conception of reason as computation or reckoning is significantly different in Part I of De Corpore from what I take to be the later treatment in Leviathan. In the late actual computation with words starts with making an affirmation, framing a proposition. Reckoning then has to do with the consequences of propositions, or how they connect the facts, states of affairs or actions which they refer tor account. Starting from this it can be made clear how Hobbes understood the (...) crucial application of this conception to natural law, identified as 'right reason'. (shrink)
The Scenic Imagination argues that the uniquely human phenomenon of representation, as manifested in language, art, and ritual, is a scenic event focused on a central object designated by a sign. The originary hypothesis posits the necessity of conceiving the origin of the human as such an event. In traditional societies, the scenic imagination through which this scene of origin is conceived manifests itself in sacred creation narratives. Modern thought is defined by the independent use of the scenic imagination to (...) create anthropological models of the origin of human institutions, beginning with the social contract scene in Hobbes’s Leviathan that puts an end to the reciprocal violence of the state of nature. Eric Gans follows the work of the scenic imagination in selected writings of twenty thinkers including Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Durkheim, Boas, and Freud and concludes his book with a critical examination of contemporary writing on the origins of religion and language. In the process, he demonstrates that the originary hypothesis offers the most cohesive explanation of the origin and function of these fundamental institutions. (shrink)
Looking at Hobbes ' theory of thinking as calculation and truth by convention shows that a certain type of scientism of the mind leads to fundamental problems. If truth is the artefact of social conventions about signs, and if thinking is nothing but the syntactical transformations of sign, a theory of thinking must have both: a strong concept of natural computation and a social theory of establishing sign-conventions. Hobbes does not, like modern physicalist theories of the mind, have both.
resumo Este artigo procura destacar algumas características do discurso racional em Thomas Hobbes. São analisadas as noções de prudência e ciência. O conhecimento racional repousará na possibilidade de construir, no discurso, um sinal – vox humana – que se sobreponha às marcas – notae – criadas pelos homens para excitar em nosso espírito um pensamento anterior. A seguir, são expostas as noções de proposição, nomes positivos e nomes negativos. Tais noções exibirão o determinismo hobbesiano, elemento determinante não apenas de sua (...) philosophia prima, mas igualmente de sua teoria política. palavras-chave Thomas Hobbes - discurso mental - discurso verbal - universal - determinismo; filosofia civil. (shrink)
I argue that Hobbes isn't really a materialist in the early 1640s (in, e.g., the Third Objections to Descartes's Meditations). That is, he doesn't assert that bodies are the only substances. However, he does think that bodies are the only substances we can think about using imagistic ideas.
Observing that René Descartes's dualistic philosophy haunts our conceptualization of matter, this essay argues that Thomas Hobbes develops a non-Cartesian materialism, which is to say that he articulates a materialism in which matter is not construed as essentially unthinking. Tracing his accounts of sense, perception, and thinking, this essay reconstructs Hobbes's account of self-consciousness and proposes that in a subject conceived as wholly embodied, self-knowledge or self-awareness takes the form of memory. The essay elaborates how Hobbes 's account of self-consciousness (...) as memory transforms our understanding both of the form taken by the subject's self-mastery and of the relationship between the individual and the collective. It concludes by speculating about the implications of this account for our understanding of Hobbes's theories of ethics and politics. (shrink)
Hobbes and Hume on the imagination can initiate a discussion of empiricism in the 17th and 18th centuries: here, however, it provides the opportunity to focus on Kant's attempt to overcome the limits of their sense originating, naturalist ethics. I argue the general point that Kant's response to his predecessors, both empiricist and non-empiricists, is to modify their focus on nature without falling into skepticism; indeed, his speculative metaphysics also is a response to classical ontological metaphysics. Kant by providing two (...) realms or perspectives, a natural and a noumenal, avoids many difficulties resulting from Hobbes and Hume's starting point in sense leading to imagination and a non-normative reason. Yet, challenged by Herder and the romantics, he uses a sort of residual view of the imagination in relation to the freedom of the noumenal, which results in difficulties for his speculative, noumenal metaphysics. r 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
In this article, I make a philosophical comparison between Hobbes' and Hume's s conceptions of imagination. The article should not be taken as an examination of Hobbes' real effect on Hume's thinking. That is a historical problem I do not address. In addition to being philosophically comparative, the article is expli- cative. Since the subject matter is so broad, I have been compelled to confine myself to the explicative level in my examination. I unfold Hume's conception of imagination, take Juhana (...) Lemetti's interpretation of Hobbes for granted (with some subtle alterations) and then compare my Hume to Lemetti's Hobbes. I will not go into all the details of Hume's rich and many-sided conception and many problems cannot be discussed in the paper; my intention is to shed some light on Hobbes' and Hume's thinking by comparing their conceptions of imagination and their reasons for the conceptions. (shrink)