Hobbes Studies 27 (1):35-60 (2014)

Authors
Marcus P. Adams
State University of New York, Albany
Abstract
Several recent commentators argue that Thomas Hobbes’s account of the nature of science is conventionalist. Engaging in scientific practice on a conventionalist account is more a matter of making sure one connects one term to another properly rather than checking one’s claims, e.g., by experiment. In this paper, I argue that the conventionalist interpretation of Hobbesian science accords neither with Hobbes’s theoretical account in De corpore and Leviathan nor with Hobbes’s scientific practice in De homine and elsewhere. Closely tied to the conventionalist interpretation is the deductivist interpretation, on which it is claimed that Hobbes believed sciences such as optics are deduced from geometry. I argue that Hobbesian science places simplest conceptions as the foundation for geometry and the sciences in which we use geometry, which provides strong evidence against both the conventionalist and deductivist interpretations.
Keywords Hobbes  Definitions  Conceptions  Ideas  Language  Natural Philosophy  Science  Optics  Conventionalist  Conventionalism
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DOI 10.1163/18750257-02701001
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References found in this work BETA

Squaring the Circle: Hobbes on Philosophy and Geometry.Alexander Bird - 1996 - Journal of the History of Ideas 57 (2):217–31.
1 A Summary Biography of Hobbes.Noel Malcolm - 1996 - In Tom Sorell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13.
Hobbes on Demonstration and Construction.David P. Gauthier - 1997 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (4):509-521.
Thomas Hobbes and the Constraints That Enable the Imitation of God.Ted H. Miller - 1999 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 42 (2):149 – 176.

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Citations of this work BETA

Hobbes on Natural Philosophy as "True Physics" and Mixed Mathematics.Marcus P. Adams - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:43-51.
Gassendi and Hobbes.Stewart Duncan & Antonia LoLordo - 2018 - In Stephen Gaukroger (ed.), Knowledge in Modern Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 27-43.

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