David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (2):303-333 (2001)
This paper deals with Hobbes's theory of optical images, developed in his optical magnum opus, 'A Minute or First Draught of the Optiques' (1646), and published in abridged version in De homine (1658). The paper suggests that Hobbes's theory of vision and images serves him to ground his philosophy of man on his philosophy of body. Furthermore, since this part of Hobbes's work on optics is the most thoroughly geometrical, it reveals a good deal about the role of mathematics in Hobbes's philosophy. The paper points to some difficulties in the thesis of Shapin and Schaffer, who presented geometry as a 'paradigm' for Hobbes's natural philosophy. It will be argued here that Hobbes's application of geometry to optics was dictated by his metaphysical and epistemological principles, not by a blind belief in the power of geometry. Geometry supported causal explanation, and assisted reason in making sense of appearances by helping the philosopher understand the relationships between the world outside us and the images it produces in us. Finally the paper broadly suggests how Hobbes's theory of images may have triggered, by negative example, the flourishing of geometrical optics in Restoration England.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Francis Bacon (1969). The Works of Francis Bacon. St. Clair Shores, Mich.,Scholarly Press.
J. Bernhardt (1979). Hobbes Polemics Against Descartes'dioptrique'in The'tractatus Opticus II'(1644). Revue Internationale de Philosophie 33 (129):432-442.
Douglas Jesseph (1996). Hobbes and the Method of Natural Science. In Tom Sorell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes. Cambridge University Press. 86--107.
Noel Malcolm (1988). Hobbes and the Royal Society. In G. A. J. Rogers & Alan Ryan (eds.), Perspectives on Thomas Hobbes. Oxford University Press.
Antoni Malet (1997). Isaac Barrow on the Mathematization of Nature: Theological Voluntarism and the Rise of Geometrical Optics. Journal of the History of Ideas 58 (2):265-287.
Citations of this work BETA
Daniele Cozzoli (2010). The Development of Mersenne's Optics. Perspectives on Science 18 (1):pp. 9-25.
Thomas M. Lennon (2007). The Significance of the Barrovian Case. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):36-55.
Similar books and articles
Douglas Michael Jesseph (2004). Galileo, Hobbes, and the Book of Nature. Perspectives on Science 12 (2):191-211.
Ted H. Miller (2002). Wild Ranging: Prudence and Philosophy's Imitation of God in the Works of Thomas Hobbes. Inquiry 45 (1):81 – 87.
Stewart Duncan (2011). Hobbes, Signification, and Insignificant Names. Hobbes Studies 24 (2):158-178.
Philippe Crignon & Arnaud Milanese (2011). Recent Trends in French Scholarship on Hobbes. Hobbes Studies 23 (2):139-156.
Ted H. Miller (2011). Mortal Gods: Science, Politics, and the Humanist Ambitions of Thomas Hobbes. Pennsylvania State University Press.
Rosamond Rhodes (2011). Taking Hobbes at His Word: Comments on Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes by S.A. Lloyd. Hobbes Studies 23 (2):170-179.
David P. Gauthier (1969). I. Yet Another Hobbes. Inquiry 12 (1-4):449-465.
Stephen Finn (2001). Geometry and the Science of Morality in Hobbes. Social Philosophy Today 17:57-66.
Maurice William Cranston (1972). Hobbes and Rousseau: A Collection of Critical Essays. Garden City, N.Y.,Anchor Books.
Tom Sorell (ed.) (1996). The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads15 ( #152,154 of 1,696,258 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #177,943 of 1,696,258 )
How can I increase my downloads?