Hobbes Studies 30 (1):83-107 (2017)

Authors
Marcus P. Adams
State University of New York, Albany
Abstract
This paper examines Hobbes’s criticisms of Robert Boyle’s air-pump experiments in light of Hobbes’s account in _De Corpore_ and _De Homine_ of the relationship of natural philosophy to geometry. I argue that Hobbes’s criticisms rely upon his understanding of what counts as “true physics.” Instead of seeing Hobbes as defending natural philosophy as “a causal enterprise … [that] as such, secured total and irrevocable assent,” 1 I argue that, in his disagreement with Boyle, Hobbes relied upon his understanding of natural philosophy as a mixed mathematical science. In a mixed mathematical science one can mix facts from experience with causal principles borrowed from geometry. Hobbes’s harsh criticisms of Boyle’s philosophy, especially in the _Dialogus Physicus, sive De natura aeris_, should thus be understood as Hobbes advancing his view of the proper relationship of natural philosophy to geometry in terms of mixing principles from geometry with facts from experience. Understood in this light, Hobbes need not be taken to reject or diminish the importance of experiment/experience; nor should Hobbes’s criticisms in _Dialogus Physicus_ be understood as rejecting experimenting as ignoble and not befitting a philosopher. Instead, Hobbes’s viewpoint is that experiment/experience must be understood within its proper place – it establishes the ‘that’ for a mixed mathematical science explanation.
Keywords Thomas Hobbes   air-pump   experience   geometry   natural philosophy  Robert Boyle
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/18750257-03001005
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Squaring the Circle.Douglas Jesseph - 1999 - University of Chicago Press.
Galileo, Hobbes, and the Book of Nature.Douglas Michael Jesseph - 2004 - Perspectives on Science 12 (2):191-211.
Hobbes on Demonstration and Construction.David P. Gauthier - 1997 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (4):509-521.
Hobbes Studies : A Bibliography.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Book.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

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.
Optics in Hobbes’s Natural Philosophy.Franco Giudice - 2016 - Hobbes Studies 29 (1):86-102.
The Power of Images: Mathematics and Metaphysics in Hobbes's Optics.Antoni Malet - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (2):303-333.
Geometry and the Science of Morality in Hobbes.Stephen Finn - 2001 - Social Philosophy Today 17:57-66.
Geometry and the Science of Morality in Hobbes.Stephen Finn - 2001 - Social Philosophy Today 17:57-66.
Hobbes’s Geometrical Optics.José Médina - 2016 - Hobbes Studies 29 (1):39-65.
Galileo, Hobbes, and the Book of Nature.Douglas Michael Jesseph - 2004 - Perspectives on Science 12 (2):191-211.
Natural Right in Hobbes and Kant.Howard Williams - 2012 - Hobbes Studies 25 (1):66-90.
On Thomas Hobbes's Fallible Natural Law Theory.Michael Cuffaro - 2011 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (2):175-190.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-03-18

Total views
178 ( #51,438 of 2,386,875 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
38 ( #19,700 of 2,386,875 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes