These essays are the fruit of many years' research by one of the world's leading Hobbes scholars. Noel Malcolm offers not only succinct introductions to Hobbes's life and thought, but also path-breaking studies of many different aspects of his political philosophy, his scientific and religious theories, his relations with his contemporaries, the sources of his ideas, the printing history of his works, and his influence on European thought.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, who died in Cambridge in 1951, is one of the most powerful influences on contemporary philosophy, yet he shunned publicity and was essentially a private man. His friend Norman Malcolm (himself an eminent philosopher) wrote this remarkably vivid personal memoir of Wittgenstein, which was published in 1958 and was immediately recognized as a moving and truthful portrait of this gifted, difficult man. -/- This edition includes also the complete text of the fifty-seven letters which Wittgenstein wrote to (...)Malcolm over a period of eleven years. Apart from the quotations in the Memoir these letters are previously unpublished. They reveal how much friendships mattered to Wittgenstein, and how concerned he was for the health and well-being of his friends. His human qualities become evident; he advises, warns, jokes. and is grateful and affectionate. -/- The volume also features a concise biographical sketch by another leading philosopher who was a friend of Wittgenstein, Georg Henrik von Wright. -/- Much has been published about Wittgenstein since his death, but nothing brings us closer to the man himself than this modest classic of philosophical biography. -/- . (shrink)
Acclaimed writer and historian Noel Malcolm presents his sensational discovery of a new work by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): a propaganda pamphlet on behalf of the Habsburg side in the Thirty Years' War, translated by Hobbes from a Latin original. Malcolm's book explores a fascinating episode in seventeenth-century history, illuminating both the practice of early modern propaganda and the theory of "reason of state".
In this book, Malcolm presents a new and radical interpretation of Plato's earlier dialogues. He argues that the few cases of self-predication contained therein are acceptable simply as statements concerning universals, and that therefore Plato is not vulnerable in these cases to the Third Man Argument. In considering the middle dialogues, Malcolm takes a conservative stance, rejecting influential current doctrines which portray the Forms as being not self-predicative. He shows that the middle dialogues do indeed take Forms to (...) be both universals and paradigms, and thus to exemplify themselves. The author goes on to consider why Plato should have been unsuccessful in avoiding self-predication. He shows that Plato's concern to explain how the truths of mathematics can indeed be true played an important role in his postulation of the Form as an Ideal Individual. The author concludes with the claim that reflection on the ambiguity of the notion of the "Standard Yard" may help us to appreciate why Plato failed to distinguish Forms as universals from Forms as paradigm cases. (shrink)
An attempt is made to answer the question why wittgenstein might have found the analogy between speaking and playing games philosophically exciting. It is argued that on the face of it the two are strikingly disanalogous, But that on reflecting further one can find various features of games (9 are distinguished in all) which are also features of some speech episodes, And the awareness of which could be philosophically significant.
This paper compares Wittgenstein's conception of ?objective certainty? with Descartes's ?metaphysical certainty?. According to both conceptions if you are certain of something in these senses, then it is inconceivable that you are mistaken. But a striking difference is that for Descartes, if you are metaphysically certain of something it follows both that the something is so and that you know it is so; whereas on Wittgenstein's conception neither thing follows. I try to show that there is a form of ?scepticism? (...) in Wittgenstein's outlook on the concept of certainty, although it is not the familiar Philosophical Scepticism. The Appendix takes issue with a recent essay by John Cook which argues that the ?hinge propositions? of On Certainty are based on ?the metaphysics of phenomenalism? (shrink)