This article challenges the idea that Hobbes presents a negative anthropology and shows, to the contrary, that there is a thick web of social relations in his state of nature and laws of nature. It considers the contradiction between human natural equality claimed by Hobbes, and female subjection that de facto characterizes most of his passages on gender relations. The key to this puzzle is found in comparison of the notions of conquest and consent, and of acquisition and institution, comparisons (...) that establish a similarity between paternal authority and despotic dominion. A step towards the solution is provided by the hypothesis that the divide between “vainglorious” and “moderate” is gendered, with women more disposed to moderation than men. This can be explained by the idea that, “for society’s sake,” women in the state of nature appreciate more the advantages of long-term cooperation, even at the price of some subordination. (shrink)
Comment les modernes ont-ils été amenés à considérer sous un nouveau jour le problème de la certitude et de la connaissance? L’étude proposée ici vise à mettre en évidence le rôle joué par la renaissance du scepticisme et à montrer comment et par quels détours le “phénomène” du scepticisme pyrrhonien est devenu l’“apparence” des modernes. Dans cette histoire, les sceptiques déclarés n’ont pas seul opéré ce travail de reprise et de transformation : une part décisive revient aussi aux adversaires du (...) scepticisme . Le renouveau sceptique ne tire pas son importance de sa seule dimension critique; par ses objections, il a joué un rôle majeur dans la réforme moderne de la “philosophie première”.Faire de la connaissance un rapport entre le monde interne de la représentation et le monde extérieur des choses, a évidemment une origine sceptique. Mais cette conception a son histoire complexe et multiforme. Elle passe notamment par la dissolution de la doctrine aristotélicienne des species , par la reprise de la conception du phénomène tirée de Sextus , par une réflexion sur les effets destructeurs du scepticisme libertin , mais aussi par la conjonction du relativisme de Montaigne et des résultats de la nouvelle science . Ainsi, en rouvrant le dossier sceptique, Bayle peut mener sa critique des présupposés de la philosophie première en débat à la fin du XVIIe siècle. (shrink)
Hobbes surely spent the ten years of greatest significance for his philosophical career on the Continent, in France, above all, in Paris. It was during this period that he published De cive; wrote the De motu, loco et tempore; produced a draft of the entire Leviathan as well as most of De corpore. His complicated relationship with Descartes has been studied closely, and Mersenne’s role has become clearer. There remains however the task of more carefully delineating the contours of Hobbes’s (...) relations with the circles of “learned libertinism.” The Libertinism which will be dealt with here was not only French, instead of English, but also “theoretical” and “intellectual” rather than practical, and nothing at all sexual, contrary to the common usage of that word in the current language. French Libertinism was a philosophical trend aimed at promoting a non-conformist approach to religion, history, morals, and even politics. (shrink)
Difficulties with periodization are often symptoms of internal diseases affecting the history of philosophy. Renaissance scholars and historians of early modern philosophy represent two scholarly communities that do not communicate with each other, as if an abrupt change of scenery had taken place from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, from the age of Campanella to the age of Descartes. The assumption of an arbitrary division between these two periods continues to have unfortunate effects on the study of the history (...) of philosophy. This chapter provides a diagnosis of this problem by looking at the way in which periodization crystallized in the history of philosophy. It then lays a foundation for attempting a new approach to this issue, which consists in mapping direct connections and conceptual links of seventeenth-century philosophers with the philosophies of the Renaissance. We intend to shift the weight from the problem of assessing the ‘modernity’ of Renaissance philosophers to the creation of a space of interaction between Renaissance and early modern thinkers in the spirit of ‘conversation’, with special attention to tracing sources, direct allusions, confutations and continuities. (shrink)
This book reassesses the role and impact of skepticism in early modern philosophy, revisiting and reinterpreting the positions of some of the main early modern philosophers in relation to this tradition and showing its relevance to others who have not previously been connected to skepticism.
In the 17th century not all manuscripts were clandestine because there also existed manuscripts written for public circulation, but it is undeniable that most of the resolutely “heterodox” authors found it useful to entrust their ideas to manuscripts both to protect themselves against the retaliation of the authorities and to circumvent the censorship to which printed books were subject. These philosophical manuscripts were messengers of “full heterodoxy” which we could call “global” and not “local”. The exclusion did not regard one (...) or another context but all of the contexts of the Ancien Régime, as they expressed a radical dissent in contrast with all of the orthodoxies of modern Europe. Bodin’s Colloquium, like Theophrastus redivivus and Meslier’s Mémoire, could not have been published either in a Catholic country or in a Protestant one, either in an absolute monarchy or in a republic. The clandestine authors were aware that it would be impossible to spread their ideas outside a circle protected by the manuscript form and most often by anonymity. (shrink)
Gianni Paganini addresses the question of Hobbes's relationship to the skeptical tradition, both ancient and modern. If Hobbes borrows from ancient skepticism the idea that it is impossible to distinguish between dreams and waking perceptions, he owes to Montaigne the idea that our sensations, although they can be misleading, are our only access to knowledge. Gianni Paganini gives a systematic account of Hobbes's skeptical arguments, showing how those arguments are included in a more general dogmatic framework, resting upon the assumption (...) that reason can infer the existence of bodies beyond the appearances or phantasms which are given in perception. Although Hobbes tends to insert skeptical elements in a causal and materialist approach to reality, he nevertheless remains, from De principis to De corpore, indebted to old and new skeptical arguments. To put it in another way, phenomena or appearances are for him our unique access into the real world. Beyond Leviathan, it is therefore Hobbes's whole work which is here presented, along the way opened by Richard Popkin, in the perspective of skepticism. (shrink)