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Archive for October, 2013

Pasnau, Hobbes, and substance

Robert Pasnau, in his Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671, draws attention to two ways in which we find Hobbes talking about substance. One is found in De Corpore, among other texts. On this, “there is no room for metaphysical entities like the thin substance and its inhering accidents” (Pasnau 117). Indeed Hobbes wrote against Bramhall that nothing could be compounded of substance and accident. However we also find Hobbes talking about substance in the earlier Third Objections, and there he appears more open to a substance-accident distinction and to accidents as “metaphysical parts” of things. Hobbes says there that “all philosophers distinguish the subject from its faculties and acts” and that “even the old Peripatetics taught clearly enough that substance is not perceived by the senses but is inferred by reasoning” (Pasnau 137). This suggests a picture on which we perceive accidents and infer the existence of the (underlying) body, contrary to the first picture. So how do the two ways of talking about substance fit together? (more…)

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Hi Folks! Lewis saw my posts on Facebook that I have been sending about what it’s like to incorporate the women in the history of 17th and 18th century into a single course: Modern Philosophy.

So…I’m updating as I go along. In many cases I am reading only a few weeks ahead of my students. I don’t claim to get these thinker right. I’m just reporting on how well it is going to teach a course that includes these neglected thinkers that I’m beginning to think are neglected for reasons that are not all together good for anyone

Here are my first two dispatches.

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