This chapter considers Ralph Cudworth as a philosophical critic of Hobbes. Cudworth saw Hobbes as a representative of the three views he was attacking: atheism, determinism, and the denial that morality is eternal and immutable. Moreover, he did not just criticize Hobbes by assuming that a general critique of those views applied to Hobbes’s particular case. Rather, he singled out Hobbes, often by quoting him, and argued against the distinctively Hobbesian positions he had identified. In this chapter I look at (...) Cudworth as a critic of Hobbes in two of the three central areas, atheism and ethics, focusing on passages where we see him explicitly picking out Hobbes. (shrink)
In this review, I discuss the justifications for focussing on Hobbes's On the Citizen (De Cive), the middle recension of his political philosophy, separately from his better known Leviathan. I provide an overview of the collection's chapter contents, and I close by calling for further research regarding the impact of this text on later European political philosophy (such as Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant).
This article offers an entry into Spinoza's political philosophy for a popular audience. In it, I lay out what is–to me–most distinctive about his political philosophy: his deep disinterest in the question of the justifiability of political resistance.
Hobbes and Butler both conjure images of an abandoned infant in their respective discussions of vulnerability. Leviathan uses this image to discuss original dominion, or natural maternal right over the child, while for Butler rights discourse produces fantasies of invulnerability that derealize other lives. However, Hobbes’s infant in nature has no rights and can only consent to being nourished. Only when able to nourish itself can it claim rights to transfer through the covenant producing a fantasy of individual invulnerability. Vulnerability (...) in the state of nature and the com- monwealth’s fantasy of invulnerability are together a counter-fantasy to the fantasies of invulnerability of Hobbes’s time, through heaven or eternal glory. In question is whether Butler, in her reimagining of community, is, like Hobbes, producing a fantasy, but a meta-fantasy that community can be taken as fantasy without derealizing the fantastic or that fantasizes an honesty about its being fantasy. (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)
I would like to begin by congratulating Arash Abizadeh. Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics is a splendid book. Even where I have disagreed with Abizadeh, the book has been a great help to me in framing central issues and in setting out pressing questions for different interpretations. I am sure that it will be a valuable resource for students of Hobbes for many years. -/- Here I will discuss Abizadeh’s views on the science of morality in Hobbes, and (...) I will focus on his Chapter 3. I will begin from the principles that form the basis of that science and proceed to its conclusions, the laws of nature. In both cases, although I recognize the difficulties that Abizadeh has presented for what he calls subjectivism, I am also concerned about the alternative interpretation that he defends. On that interpretation, prudentialism, the view that one ought to desire and pursue one’s own good, is a foundational principle of moral science, which gives us reason to follow the laws of nature. The principle is distinct from any particular desire or knowledge, but its practical importance is guaranteed by epistemic access to the laws of nature: any sane adult can easily know the laws of nature. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 236 - 253 There are four books that have been advertised in sales catalogues as possessing the inscription ‘Tho. Hobbes’ and having once been owned by Thomas Hobbes. But how confident can we be that they belonged to the famous philosopher? This research note gathers evidence for assessing whether or not this quartet of books were once in the possession of Hobbes of Malmesbury, with particular attention given to a previously undiscussed edition of (...) Josuah Sylvester’s _Devine Weekes and Workes_ sold to the University of Illinois in 1951 as Hobbes’s copy. The evidence is insufficient to connect any of the four books to Hobbes securely, and in at least one case an Oxford undergraduate of the same name emerges as a stronger candidate. This conclusion confirms that the catalogues at Chatsworth are our principal source for knowing which books Hobbes might have read. (shrink)
This paper aims to highlight the role played by uncertainties in global justice theories. It will start by identifying four kinds of uncertainties that could potentially have an impact on the nature, content and very existence of global duties: first, uncertainties regarding the causes of global injustices; second, uncertainties regarding the consequences of global justice initiatives; third, uncertainties pertaining to the 'imperfect' character of certain global duties; and fourth, uncertainties regarding the conduct of others. It will discuss each of these (...) uncertainties in turn, with particular attention to their normative implications, their distinctively 'global' source, and the possibility of their being addressed. It will conclude with some reflections on how the normative issues raised by uncertainties related to spatial distance compare to those raised by uncertainties related to temporal distance. (shrink)
In this article, I consider the standard interpretation of the superiority theory of humor attributed to Plato, Aristotle, and Hobbes, according to which the theory allegedly places feelings of superiority at the center of humor and comic amusement. The view that feelings of superiority are at the heart of all comic amusement is wildly implausible. Therefore textual evidence for the interpretation of Plato, Aristotle, or Hobbes as offering the superiority theory as an essentialist theory of humor is worth careful consideration. (...) Through textual analysis I argue that not one of these three philosophers defends an essentialist theory of comic amusement. I also discuss the way various theories of humor relate to one another and the proper place of a superiority theory in humor theory in light of my analysis. (shrink)
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.
Hobbes’s science of politics rests on a dual analysis of human beings: humans as complex material bodies in a network of mechanical forces, prone to passions and irrationality; and humans as subjects of right and obligation, morally exhortable by appeal to the standards of reason. The science of politics proposes an absolutist model of politics. If this proposal is not to be idle utopianism, the enduring functioning of the model needs to be compatible with the materialist analysis of human behaviour. (...) In this paper, I argue that Hobbes's attempts to render his science of politics compatible with his materialism are only partly successful; a fuller compatibility is achieved in the political writings of Spinoza. -/- Published with reply: Luke O'Sullivan, 'Sovereigns and citizens: a response to Field', ibid., 221-224. Reprinted as: Sandra Field (2015), 'Hobbes and human irrationality', in T. Nardin (ed.) Rationality in Politics and its Limits, Abingdon: Routledge, 31-44. With reply: Luke O'Sullivan, 'Sovereigns and citizens: a response to Field', ibid., 45-48. (shrink)
Readers of Hobbes have often seen his Leviathan as a deeply paradoxical work. On one hand, recognizing that no sovereign could ever wield enough coercive power to maintain social order, the text recommends that the state enhance its power ideologically, by tightly controlling the apparatuses of public discourse and socialization. The state must cultivate an image of itself as a mortal god of nearly unlimited power, to overpower its subjects and instil enough fear to win obedience. On the other hand, (...) by drawing explicit attention to the ideological and partly illusory bases of the state’s power, Leviathan, itself construed as a political intervention designed to appeal to a broad English readership, appears to undermine the very program it recommends. Indeed, many have argued that Leviathan’s substantive political-philosophical doctrine is flatly at odds with the authority that Hobbes claimed for himself in order to advance that doctrine. The paradox, I argue, is only an apparent one. Precisely because Hobbes believed that in practice no one could ever become the mortal god that sovereignty requires, i.e., that the seat of sovereignty could never actually be securely occupied and fully represented by a mere mortal, he sought constantly to remind his readers of the precariousness of earthly sovereignty by pointing to its illusory basis. Far from seeking to undermine the sovereign, however, this reminder was designed to enhance readers’ fears, especially the fear that, despite the security they may enjoy today, the slightest misstep may lead them straight into the horrors of the state of nature. Hobbes’s purpose was, in other words, to enhance the sovereign’s power, not by enhancing our fear of him, but of his absence. Ironically, this is also in part why Hobbes insisted on the individual’s inalienable right of self-defence, an insistence that has puzzled many of his readers, given Hobbes’s obvious wish to defend absolute, unlimited sovereignty. Its political function is not to provide a covert justification for resistance theories. Rather, by reminding his readers of their right but doing so while addressing them as isolated atoms whose resistance would be hopeless, Hobbes sought to remind each one of the ultimate impossibility of securely filling the seat of sovereignty, without encouraging anyone actually to resist the most promising pretender. Like God-talk, Hobbes’s representations of sovereign power do not ultimately comprise descriptive propositions at all: they are expressions of praise and honour designed to help create the very thing they purport to describe. Hobbes was keenly aware that indivisible state sovereignty is an ideological construct whose terms are never ever fully realized in practice. (shrink)
This chapter examines the main theories of material qualities developed by leading British philosophers during the seventeenth century, describes the taxonomy of qualities during this period, and analyzes the epistemological and metaphysical theses that influenced the development of the theory of material qualities in Great Britain. It also considers the relevant works of Thomas Hobbes, Walter Charleton, Robert Boyle, John Locke, and Isaac Newton.
_Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes _features the work of feminist scholars who are centrally engaged with Hobbes’s ideas and texts and who view Hobbes as an important touchstone in modern political thought. Bringing together scholars from the disciplines of philosophy, history, political theory, and English literature who embrace diverse theoretical and philosophical approaches and a range of feminist perspectives, this interdisciplinary collection aims to appeal to an audience of Hobbes scholars and nonspecialists alike. As a theorist whose trademark is a (...) compelling argument for absolute sovereignty, Hobbes may seem initially to have little to offer twenty-first-century feminist thought. Yet, as the contributors to this collection demonstrate, Hobbesian political thought provides fertile ground for feminist inquiry. Indeed, in engaging Hobbes, feminist theory engages with what is perhaps the clearest and most influential articulation of the foundational concepts and ideas associated with modernity: freedom, equality, human nature, authority, consent, coercion, political obligation, and citizenship. Aside from the editors, the contributors are Joanne Boucher, Karen Detlefsen, Karen Green, Wendy Gunther-Canada, Jane S. Jaquette, S. A. Lloyd, Su Fang Ng, Carole Pateman, Gordon Schochet, Quentin Skinner, and Susanne Sreedhar. (shrink)
El estudio intenta analizar la filosofía de Hobbes en el contexto de la historia de la literatura inglesa. Para lo cual determina el lugar de Hobbes en ella y concluye que muchas de las características filosóficas de su obra no son completamente originales sino parte del desarrollo de la historia de la literatura inglesa. Excepto por su materialismo y ateísmo, algo realmente nuevo para la época, su dogmatismo racionalista es su contribución a la solución de las controversias religiosas y políticas (...) de su tiempo. Concluye el autor que Hobbes no fue bien recibido en su época pero en la Restauración muchos de los rasgos de su filosofía están presentes en la vida y la ciencia inglesa, convirtiéndose así el autor inglés en un profeta en su propia tierra.The study attempts to analyse Hobbes’s philosophy in the context of the history of English literature. For this purpose it analyses the place of Hobbes in it and concludes that many of the philosophical characteristics of his work are not completely original but part of the history of English literature. With the exception of his materialism and atheism, his rationalistic dogmatism is his contribution to the solution of current religious and political controversies. The author concludes that Hobbes was not well received in his time but in the Restoration many of the traits of his philosophy are present in English life and science, thus, making of Hobbes a prophet in his own land. (shrink)
The sustained and critical attention that Hobbes commands from twentieth century scholars proves the relevance of his philosophy to our concerns, but it cannot explain the occasion for such an attention. The chief aim of the present work is to provide an account of the reason for the sudden emergence of diverse interpretations of Hobbes that had cropped up in the twentieth century. This work argues that the arrival of the diverse interpretations cannot be answered only by looking at the (...) developments within Hobbes’s political philosophy. We have to go outside Hobbes’s political philosophy to account for their arrival. The tenability of Hobbesian philosophy which is founded on Newtonian and Galilean theories that were subsequently contended by Einstein's Theory of Relativity is discussed in the light of the interpretations of four scholars – Leo Strauss, A E Taylor, J H Warrender, C B Macpherson – that attempted to provide alternative foundations such as Self-observation, Moral Imperative, Moral Obligation, Possessive Individualism, respectively. This book will be of considerable interest not only to the scholars of Hobbes, but also to those interested in the relationship between philosophy and science. (shrink)
Hobbes spent most of his adult life in the service of the influential Cavendish family. The Historical Dictionary of Hobbes's Philosophy offers a comprehensive guide to the many facets of Hobbes's work.
This paper presents the state of research on Hobbes in France these last 7-8 years. First of all, it explains how the generation of forerunners in the 1970s and 1980s has been replaced by the birth of a vigorous French school of Hobbes scholars in the 1990s and then by a new generation of academics during the recent years. The first part of this paper deals with the institutions and the institutional life concerned with Hobbes in France. The second part (...) is devoted to eight recent monographs on the English philosopher. The third one is focused on various collections of papers as well as special issues. The fourth part reckons five recent translations into French of some of Hobbes's works. The whole gives a complete account of the intense activity of scholars on Hobbes in France today, including works that are about to be published. (shrink)
Nous avons repris en Sorbonne, depuis l’année dernière, le séminaire Thomas Hobbes de philosophie politique et d’histoire de la pensée politique – qui s’est tenu pendant quinze ans, de 1990 à 2005, le samedi en salle Cavaillès – dans le cadre d’une collaboration de deux Écoles doctorales : l’une de l’Université Paris Descartes Sorbonne (ED 180 Sciences humaines..
Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan is the greatest work of political philosophy in English and the first great work of philosophy in English. In addition, it presents the fundamentals of his beliefs about language, epistemology, and an extensive treatment of revealed religion and its relation to politics. Beginning with premises that were sometimes controversial, such as that every human action is caused by the agent's desire for his own good, Hobbes derived shocking conclusions, such as that the civil government enjoys absolute control (...) over its citizens and that the sovereign has the right to determine which religion is to be practiced in a commonwealth. Hobbes's contemporaries recognized the power of the arguments in Leviathan and many of them wrote responses to it. Selections from books by John Bramhall, Robert Filmer, Edward Hyde, George Lawson, William Lucy, Samuel Pufendorf and Thomas Tenison are included in this edition. Leviathan is divided into four parts: In the first part, Of Man, Hobbes presents a view of human beings and of the natural world in general that is materialistic and mechanistic. In the second part, Of Commonwealth, he defends the theory of absolute sovereignty, the view that the government has all the political power and has the right to control any aspect of life. In the third part, Of a Christian Commonwealth, he critiques concepts like revelation, prophets, and miracles in such a way that it becomes doubtful whether they can be rationally justified. In the fourth part, Of the Kingdom of Darkness, he explains various ways in which priestly religion has corrupted religion and transgressed the rights of the sovereign. In this revised edition of Hobbes's classic work, A.P. Martinich improves Hobbes's punctuation for the sake of clarity. He has also added new notes for readers, extensive cross references, and substantial part of Hobbes's reply to Bramhall's The Catching of Leviathan. (shrink)
This revised Broadview Edition of Hobbes's classic work of political philosophy includes the full text of Part I (Of Man), Part II (Of Commonwealth), and the Review and Conclusion. The appendices, which set the work in its historical context, include a rich selection of contemporary responses to Leviathan. Also included are an introduction, explanatory notes, and a chronology of Hobbes's life. Please note that the Broadview Edition of the complete Leviathan also remains available.
Thomas Hobbes’s _Leviathan_ is the greatest work of political philosophy in English and the first great work of philosophy in English. Beginning with premises that were sometimes controversial, such as that every human action is caused by the agent’s desire for his own good, Hobbes derived shocking conclusions, such as that the civil government enjoys absolute control over its citizens and that the sovereign has the right to determine which religion is to be practiced in a commonwealth. Hobbes’s contemporaries recognized (...) the power of arguments in _Leviathan_ and many of them wrote responses to it; selections by John Bramhall, Robert Filmer, Edward Hyde, George Lawson, William Lucy, Samuel Pufendorf, and Thomas Tenison are included in this edition. This revised Broadview Edition of Hobbes’s classic work of political philosophy includes the full text of Part I (Of Man), Part II (Of Commonwealth), and the Review and Conclusion. The appendices, which set the work in its historical context, include a rich selection of contemporary responses to _Leviathan_. Also included are an introduction, explanatory notes, and a chronology of Hobbes’s life. (shrink)
Written by Thomas Hobbes and first published in 1651, _Leviathan_ is widely considered the greatest work of political philosophy ever composed in the English language. Hobbes's central argument—that human beings are first and foremost concerned with their own fears and desires, and that they must relinquish basic freedoms in order to maintain a peaceful society—has found new adherents and critics in every generation. This new edition, which uses modern text and relies on large-sheet copies from the 1651 Head version, includes (...) interpretive essays by four leading Hobbes scholars: John Dunn, David Dyzenhaus, Elisabeth Ellis, and Bryan Garsten. Taken together with Ian Shapiro’s wide-ranging introduction, they provide fresh and varied interpretations of _Leviathan_ for our time. (shrink)
Hobbes's place in the history of political philosophy is a highly controversial one. An international symposium held at Queen Mary, University of London in February 2009 was devoted to debating his significance and legacy. The event focussed on recent books on Hobbes by Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit, and was organised around four commentaries on these new works by distinguished scholars. This paper is designed to introduce the subject of the symposium together with the commentaries and subsequent responses from Petit (...) and Skinner. It examines the themes of language and liberty in the philosophy of Hobbes and concludes by highlighting some of the ways in which further research into Hobbes's debt to Aristotle's Politics will prove fruitful and illuminating. (shrink)