This major new work from Quentin Skinner presents a fundamental reappraisal of the political theory of Hobbes. Using, for the first time, the full range of manuscript as well as printed sources, it documents an entirely new view of Hobbes's intellectual development, and re-examines the shift from a humanist to a scientific culture in European moral and political thought. By examining Hobbes's philosophy against the background of his humanist education, Professor Skinner rescues this most difficult (...) and challenging of political philosophers from the intellectual isolation in which he is so often discussed. This book presents a splendid exemplification of the 'Cambridge' contextual approach to the study of intellectual history with which Professor Skinner himself is especially associated. It will be of interest and importance to a wide range of scholars in history, philosophy, politics, and literary theory. (shrink)
The first of three volumes of essays by Quentin Skinner, one of the world's leading intellectual historians. This collection includes some of his most important philosophical and methodological statements written over the past four decades, each carefully revised for publication in this form. In a series of seminal essays Professor Skinner sets forth the intellectual principles that inform his work. Writing as a practising historian, he considers the theoretical difficulties inherent in the pursuit of knowledge and interpretation, and (...) elucidates the methodology which finds its expression in his two successive volumes. All of Professor Skinner's work is characterised by philosophical power, limpid clarity, and elegance of exposition; these essays, many of which are now recognised classics, provide a fascinating and convenient digest of the development of his thought. (shrink)
Niccolo Machiavelli taught that political leaders must be prepared to do evil that good may come of it, and his name has been a byword ever since for duplicity and immorality. Is his sinister reputation deserved? In answering this question Quentin Skinner focuses on three major works, The Prince, the Discourses, and The History of Florence, and distils from them an introduction to Machiavelli's doctrines of exemplary clarity.
This volume in the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes contains A dialogue between a philosopher and a student, of the common laws of England, edited by Alan Cromartie, supplemented by the important fragment on the issue of regal succession, 'Questions relative to Hereditary Right', discovered and edited by Quentin Skinner. The former work is the last of Hobbes's major political writings. As a critique of common law by a great philosopher, it should be essential reading for (...) anybody interested in English political thought or legal theory. Although it was written when Hobbes was at least eighty, it is a lively piece of work that goes beyond a recapitulation of earlier Hobbesian doctrines, not least in applying his central ideas to the details of the English constitution. This edition supplies the extensive annotation on matters of legal and historical detail that is required by non-specialist readers; it also assists students by offering cross-references to other treatises. Cromartie's introduction is an authoritative account of seventeenth-century thinking about the common law and of Hobbes's shifting attitudes towards it. It has often been suspected that the book was motivated by fear of being burned for heresy. Cromartie disentangles the complex evidence (scattered across a number of late works) that documents this fear's development, and shows why the philosopher's acute anxieties eventually led him to write a legal treatise. In clarifying these questions, the edition casts fresh light upon his attitude to law and sovereignty. The second piece takes the form of a question put to Hobbes about the right of succession under hereditary monarchies, together with Hobbes's response. The question is in the handwriting of the fourth Earl of Devonshire, the son of the third Earl, whom Hobbes had tutored in the 1630s. He asks Hobbes whether an heir can be excluded if he is incapable of protecting his prospective subjects. The question of 'exclusion' became the most burning issue in English politics in the course of 1679, when a bill to exclude the future James II was introduced into the House of Commons. Hobbes answers with a robust defence of hereditary right, in the course of which he also makes some important general observations about the concept of a right. The manuscript is also of special interest as it constitutes Hobbes's last word on politics. It was almost certainly written in the summer of 1679, less than six months before Hobbes's death. (shrink)
This volume in the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes contains A dialogue between a philosopher and a student, of the common laws of England, edited by Alan Cromartie, supplemented by the important fragment on the issue of regal succession, 'Questions relative to Hereditary Right', discovered and edited by Quentin Skinner. -/- The former work is the last of Hobbes's major political writings. As a critique of common law by a great philosopher, it should be essential reading (...) for anybody interested in English political thought or legal theory. Although it was written when Hobbes was at least eighty, it is a lively piece of work that goes beyond a recapitulation of earlier Hobbesian doctrines, not least in applying his central ideas to the details of the English constitution. This edition supplies the extensive annotation on matters of legal and historical detail that is required by non-specialist readers; it also assists students by offering cross-references to other treatises. Cromartie's introduction is an authoritative account of seventeenth-century thinking about the common law and of Hobbes's shifting attitudes towards it. It has often been suspected that the book was motivated by fear of being burned for heresy. Cromartie disentangles the complex evidence (scattered across a number of late works) that documents this fear's development, and shows why the philosopher's acute anxieties eventually led him to write a legal treatise. In clarifying these questions, the edition casts fresh light upon his attitude to law and sovereignty. -/- The second piece takes the form of a question put to Hobbes about the right of succession under hereditary monarchies, together with Hobbes's response. The question is in the handwriting of the fourth Earl of Devonshire, the son of the third Earl, whom Hobbes had tutored in the 1630s. He asks Hobbes whether an heir can be excluded if he is incapable of protecting his prospective subjects. The question of 'exclusion' became the most burning issue in English politics in the course of 1679, when a bill to exclude the future James II was introduced into the House of Commons. Hobbes answers with a robust defence of hereditary right, in the course of which he also makes some important general observations about the concept of a right. The manuscript is also of special interest as it constitutes Hobbes's last word on politics. It was almost certainly written in the summer of 1679, less than six months before Hobbes's death. (shrink)
The second edition of this guide to Adam Smith's system of thought has been fully updated to reflect recent developments in Smith scholarship and Professor Skinner's experience of teaching Smith to a student audience. The material from the first edition has been extensively rewritten, and four new chapters have been added, covering Smith's essays on the exercise of human understanding, and his relationship to Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Sir James Steuart. -/- Professor Skinner places Smith's system of (...) social, and moral, science firmly within the context of contemporary British and Continental intellectual history, dealing in particular detail with the founders of the Scottish Enlightenment and with the French Physiocrats. A close reading of a broad range of texts, supported by a deep knowledge of contemporary institutional history, suggests the patters of their influence through the various recensions of Smith's extant works. The essays similarly explore Smith's own reception among his peers and successors. -/- The essays in this volume have been developed from Professor Skinner's lecture course on `The Age and Ideas of Adam Smith', taught to senior undergraduate and graduate students in political economy. Their relevance extends out to students of economic history, philosophy, and the history of ideas in the eighteenth century, as well as to all those involved in the study of Adam Smith. Each essay can be read as a self-contained unit, supported by a full bibliography and notes; the book as a whole expounds a single coherent argument which demonstrates how Smith's works are inter-related. (shrink)
Niccolò Machiavelli taught that political leaders must be prepared to do evil deeds in order to ensure the general good of the state, and ever since his name has signified duplicity and immorality. But is his sinister reputation deserved? To answer this question, Quentin Skinner focuses on three of Machiavelli’s major works- The Prince , Discourses , and The History of Florence . His analyses and distillation of these texts provide an introduction of exemplary clarity to Machiavelli’s doctrines.
Skinner insists on the suitability of his own interpretation of Yacorzynski's results and points out a number of differences in the conclusions reached by each of them in the study of these data. (See 17: 1566.) ((c) 1997 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved).
This article challenges the neo-Darwinist physicalist position assumed by currently prevalent naturalizing accounts of consciousness. It suggests instead an evolutionary (Deweyan) understanding of cognitive emergence and an acceptance of mental capacity as a phenomenon in its own right, differing qualitatively from, although not independent of, the physical and material world. I argue that if we accept that consciousness is an adaptation enabling survival through immediate individual intuition of the world, we may accept this metaphysics as a given. Methodological focus can (...) then shift to investigating the, as yet untheorized, nature of consciousness itself as capacity/interconnectivity/potential. The article accepts Joseph Margolis's recent advocacy of a pragmatist approach that is "natural but not naturalizable" (Margolis 2002, 7), that is, an anti-reductionist as opposed to an eliminativist position, but it seeks to develop this position further and to give it new direction. (shrink)
Presents an analysis of Jonathan Edwards' theological position. This book includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.
Prepared by editors of the distinguished series The Works of Jonathan Edwards, this authoritative anthology includes selected treatises, sermons, and autobiographical material by early America’s greatest theologian and philosopher.
Although philosophical theologians have sometimes claimed that human beings are necessarily dependent on God, few have developed the idea with any precision. Jonathan Edwards is a notable exception, providing a detailed and often novel account of humanity’s essential ontological, moral, and soteriological dependence on God.
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes — the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God's holiness. The first is articulated in Edwards' defense of theological determinism, in a doctrine of occasionalism, and in his insistence that physical objects are only collections of sensible “ideas” while finite minds are mere assemblages of “thoughts” or “perceptions.” As the only real (...) cause or substance underlying physical and mental phenomena, God is “being in general,” the “sum of all being.” -/- Edwards' second theme is articulated in accounts of God's end in creation, and of the nature of true virtue and true beauty. God creates in order to manifest a holiness which consists in a benevolence which alone is truly beautiful. Genuine human virtue is an imitation of divine benevolence and all finite beauty is an image of divine loveliness. True virtue is needed to discern this beauty, however, and to reason rightly about “divine things.”. (shrink)
In this response to the papers on Jonathan Edwards's ethical thought by Stephen A. Wilson, Gerald R. McDermott, William C. Spohn, and Roland A. Delattre, I comment on their efforts to show that ideas drawn from Edwards can be successfully appropriated for use in contemporary ethics. I conclude that the four authors build a strong cumulative case for the view that some elements of Edwards's thought can serve as resources for our ethical reflections. But I also argue for a (...) deflationary view of how much of Edwards we will find it feasible to take on board when we engage in the task of working out a religious ethics we might accept. (shrink)
The contemporary revival of virtue ethics has focused primarily on retrieving central moral commitments of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and the Neoplatonist traditions. Christian virtue ethicists would do well to expand this retrieval further to include the writings of the Roman Stoics. This essay argues that the ethics of Jonathan Edwards exemplifies major Stoic themes and explores three noteworthy points of intersection between Stoic ethics and Edwards's thought: a conception of virtue as consent to a benevolent providence, the identification of (...) virtue as a singular and transformative good, and an account of moral formation as simultaneously self-directed and received. Common ground between Edwards and the Stoics illustrates the value of recognizing Stoic moral thought as a philosophical framework that can enhance and undergird Christian ethicists' understandings of moral development and the nature of virtue. (shrink)
Foucault and Skinner have each offered influential accounts of the emergence of the state as a defining element of modern political thought. Yet the two accounts have never been brought into dialogue; this non-encounter is made more interesting by the fact that Foucault's and Skinner's accounts are at odds with one another. There is therefore much to be gained by examining this divergence. In this article I attempt this task by first setting out the two accounts of the (...) state, and then some of the methodological strictures each thinker has suggested. I argue that the divergence between Foucault's and Skinner's accounts of the state is indeed driven by differences in method, as we might expect; but I also argue that these differences in method can themselves be well explained by the differing political motivations each thinker has at times articulated. Thus it is possible to make politics, and not method, the privileged point of this reconciliation. (shrink)
The incompleteness of the task of integrating the influences made upon Jonathan Edwards by Calvinism and the moral sense leaves open a great many questions central to identifying his ethical position with any detail. This should worry ethicists, theologians, and church historians alike. For the puzzle of what Edwards meant by virtue is at the heart not only of his ethics but of a great many strands of his thought. It must be pieced together from diverse sources; and there (...) are multiple meanings to be sifted through. But it is nevertheless possible to bring the concepts made available by the diverse moral traditions upon which Edwards drew into a generally coherent counterpoise. Such a counterpoise is not merely of antiquarian interest. Lacking a precise account of Edwards's ethical position, it is awkward to talk about applying it to the problems of the twenty-first, or any, century. (shrink)
The contemporary interest in spiritual experience has some theological and ethical ambiguity. To what extent does it reflect genuine engagement with the sacred, to what extent is it dabbling in experience without adequate interpretation or moral commitment? Jonathan Edwards faced similar challenges in his sermons on 1 Cor 13, "Charity and Its Fruits". Alasdair Maclntyre and Pierre Hadot have explored the constitutive role of practices in forming of virtues and transmitting a way of life. Their writings help show the (...) continuing relevance of the spiritual practices that Edwards advocated, particularly self-examination, healing by contraries, and solidarity. (shrink)
Reasoning es una obra monumental de más de mil páginas editada en estrecha colaboración por el filósofo Jonathan E. Adler y el psicólogo Lance J. Rips para esclarecer el intrincado campo de investigación relacionado con los fundamentos de la inferencia y, en general, del razonamiento humano. En la actualidad, en pocos casos va unido el trabajo de compilar y editar textos científicos con el afán enciclopédico: un proyecto editorial que sobrepasa con razón los objetivos de la mayor parte de (...) los libros editados para la recopilación de artículos en torno a un mismo tema de investigación. Reasoning supone un empeño de características enciclopédicas: ha conseguido convertirse en una referencia obligada desde que saliera a la luz en 2008 para ofrecer al lector especialista artículos científicos de las más reputadas y consolidadas voces en aquellos campos de conocimiento presentes ya en los proyectos enciclopédicos europeos del siglo de las luces, a saber: el significado del racionalismo, los límites imputables a la naturaleza del conocimiento humano, las paradojas presentes en la inducción, etc. (shrink)
La crítica del siglo XX ha hecho ver que varias de las obras de Jonathan Swift están vinculadas tanto con las condiciones sociales, políticas y culturales irlandesas como con algunas teorías, las cuales han quedado en la oscuridad para algunas investigaciones literarias, a pesar del hecho de que pue..
En este trabajo pretendemos abordar la teoría del Intuicionismo social, realizada por el psicólogo Jonathan Haidt en oposición al modelo racionalista de Piaget y Kohlberg. Analizaremos sus elementos principales y especialmente sus implicaciones normativas. En particular nos centraremos en su conocida teoría del «desconcierto moral» con la que pretende mostrar la desconexión existente entre el juicio moral y la reflexión como dos procesos independientes.
Ludwig Wittgenstein y Jonathan Swift. El primero desde la filosofía y el segundo desde la literatura. Por una parte, están las anotaciones de Wittgenstein en sus Investigaciones Filosóficas y en el libro Sobre la certeza . Por otra parte, está la novela de Swift titulada Los Viajes de Gulliver . Ambos autores, a pesar de sus diferencias discursivas, plantean un asunto problemático respecto al quehacer filosófico: los giros y malabarismos lingüísticos en los que suele caer la filosofía por su (...) afán de certezas y de establecer principios universales. A partir de las inquietudes de Wittgenstein y las parodias de Jonathan Swift, se realiza un diagnóstico del quehacer filosófico desde sus manías y sus hábitos discursivos. Wittgenstein nos deja las preguntas abiertas. Swift nos deja la posibilidad de responder desde el ámbito de la risa. Y en el presente ensayo se pretende partir de ambos autores para hablar de la filosofía desde el lugar de la comedia. (shrink)
In this essay I address three ways in which Edwards can inform Christian understanding of public life. First I show how Edwards provides both philosophical and theological rationales for social engagement and thereby resists the separation of religion from public life, and use his consideration of poverty as an illustration. Part II examines Edwards's dialectical treatment of patriotism, demonstrating both its importance to the Christian life and its susceptibility to deceptive accommodation to culture. Finally, in Part III I discuss Edwards's (...) use of "national covenant," which despite its temptation to chauvinism Edwards used to undermine national pride. In the conclusion I assess what we can use from Edwards for contemporary Christian understandings of public life. (shrink)
This is a tricentennial riff on the Edwardsean idea that beauty is both the first principle of being and the distinguishing perfection of God. What is really distinctive about Edwards's view of beauty is that it is an ontological reality and consists in joyfully bestowing being and beauty more than in being beautiful, in creative and beautifying activity more than in being beautiful. Edwards was also a pioneer in the way he envisaged a lively universe created by God, not out (...) of nothing or out of something, but out of the very fullness of God's own life overflowing into a world as a self-enlargement of the divine life. Edwards dares to offer a vision of God as the animating soul of the universe who governs the universe by the attractive and creative power of God's own beautifying life. What might it mean for religious ethics to take this as a description of the context for its work? The answer, in part and in brief, is that a life of true virtue, grounded in the heartfelt piety of holy affections, is a beautifying life. My aim in spinning out some Edwardsean themes is to encourage the reader to think about religious ethics outside the box within which beauty and beautifying activity play no part in defining the agenda of religious ethics. Inspired by themes unique and central to Edwards in his time, we may learn things of importance to religious ethics in our time that Edwards neither knew nor believed. (shrink)
In this article I assess the coherence of Jonathan Edwards's doctrine of divine simplicity as an instance of an actus purus account of perfect-being theology. Edwards's view is an idiosyncratic version of this doctrine. This is due to a number of factors including his idealism and the Trinitarian context from which he developed his notion of simplicity. These complicating factors lead to a number of serious problems for his account, particularly with respect to the opera extra sunt indivisa principle. (...) I conclude that Edwards sets out an interesting and subtle version of the doctrine, but one which appears mired in difficulties from which he is unable to extract himself. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer both a brief study of Collingwood's conception of historical explanation and epistemological historicity, and an examination of the influence of Collingwood's work on the historical methodology of Quentin Skinner and on Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy. Collingwood's work on the philosophy of history manifests a tension between the realist implications of the doctrine of reenactment and the logic of question and answer on the one hand, and, on the other, the constructionist tendency of the rest of (...) his work on the logic of historical inquiry and on the hermeneutic character of his more general conception of human historicity. This tension is displayed in the divergent interpretations of Collingwood by Quentin Skinner and Hans-Georg Gadamer, and in the inherent difficulties of each man's philosophy of history. I argue that the weaknesses of Skinner's methodological historicism are present already in his reading of Collingwood and reflect the difficulties inherent in understanding Collingwood as offering primarily a methodology of history. I also claim that Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy, while presenting a more plausible reading of Collingwood, suffers from tensions similar to those within Collingwood's work between the logic of explanation and the logic of practical recommendation, and between the character of historical explanation and the character of philosophical understanding. (shrink)
Sang Hyun Lee's account of Jonathan Edward's ontology has become the benchmark of many recent discussions of Edwards's thought. In this paper, I argue that this Lee interpretation is flawed in several crucial respects. In place of Lee's understanding of Edwards I offer an account of Edwards's work according to which Edwards is an idealist-occasionalist, but not an advocate of a purely dispositional ontology of creation.
During the past few decades, Quentin Skinner has been one of the most prominent critics of the ideas about negative liberty that have developed out of the writings of Isaiah Berlin. Among Skinner?s principal charges against the contemporary doctrine of negative liberty is the claim that the proponents of that doctrine have overlooked the putative fact that people can be made unfree to refrain from undertaking particular actions. In connection with this matter, Skinner contrasts the present-day theories (...) with the prototypical liberal account of negative freedom propounded by Thomas Hobbes. The present essay challenges Skinner?s position both philosophically and exegetically. Because an agent can always elect to cease his activity as an agent, the ostensible inescapability of certain actions is not the same as the outright inescapability of certain instances of inaction. Once this point is properly recognized, the way is clear for a re-evaluation of Hobbes (and of Skinner on Hobbes). (shrink)