Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2014

Discussions of Hobbes’s views about language seem to proceed on two separate paths. (Neither of these paths is terribly busy, I’ll grant you, but they both seem to be there.) On the one hand there are discussions of Hobbes’s general philosophy of language — signification, nominalism, and the like. On the other hand there are discussions of what Hobbes says about language in his moral and political philosophy — on what he says about ‘good’ and ‘evil’, for example. But it seems to me that these two discussions should be more closely tied together.

One interesting text for starting to think about the link between the two is the final paragraph of chapter 4 of Leviathan. There Hobbes discusses moral language, including the names of virtues and vices. This discussion contributes to the moral and political projects of the book, while also being part of a general account of the workings of language. It uses the terminology of that general account, in particular its notion of signification.

The names of virtue and vices, and others like them, are, Hobbes says, of “inconstant signification”. Moreover, they are words,

which besides the signification of what we imagine of their nature, have a signification also of the nature, disposition, and interest of the speaker; such as are the names of Vertues, and Vices; For one man calleth Wisdome, what another calleth feare; and one cruelty, what another justice; one prodigality, what another magnanimity; and one gravity, what another stupidity, &c. And therefore such names can never be true grounds of any ratiocination. No more can Metaphors, and Tropes of speech: but these are less dangerous, because they profess their inconstancy; which the other do not.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Parts of Hobbesian ideas

A couple of recent papers (one by Marcus Adams, the other by Arash Abizadeh) have me thinking about Hobbes’s views about ideas, about ideas as images, and about what the parts of ideas are.

Sometimes Hobbesian ideas have what we might call conceptual parts. One example is the discussion of resolution in De Corpore 6.4. The idea square is said to have parts including line and angle, and the idea gold is said to have parts including solid and heavy.

At other times, though, the parts of ideas seem more like the spatial parts of images. One example of this occurs when Hobbes talks of remembering, and the ways memories are less detailed than experiences, in Elements of Law 3.7. This he describes as involving a “missing of parts” and a lack of “distinction of parts”. So on the one hand you look at a city and see the buildings clearly distinguished, on the other you remember it as “a mass of building only”. But here the parts that are missing, or can’t be distinguished, are spatial parts of the image.

I don’t know what to make of this. But I think Hobbes is not alone, among philosophers with a more or less imagistic theory of ideas, in having these two sorts of parts in mind. So Hume usually thinks of ideas as having conceptual parts. But in Treatise 1.2, in the discussion of space, the coloured points into which our visual impressions and ideas are resolved are spatial rather than conceptual parts.

Read Full Post »

I am posting this on behalf of Emily Thomas. Please spread the word!

CFP: Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, Religion and Science

Conference 21-23 March 2016, University of Groningen

 

During the early modern period (c. 1600-1800) women were involved in many debates that tangled together metaphysics, religion and science. The women included figures such asMargaret Cavendish, Emilie Du Châtelet, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, and Damaris Cudworth Masham. The debates surrounded issues such as atomism, determinism, motion, mind-body causation, mechanism, space, and natural laws.

 

The conference program will be comprised of invited speakers and speakers drawn from an open call for papers.

 

Invited Speakers

Sarah Hutton (Aberystwyth, UK)

Jacqueline Broad (Monash, Australia)

Susan James (Birkbeck, UK)

Andrew Janiak (Duke, USA)

Karen Detlefsen (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

David Cunning (University of Iowa, USA)

Deborah Boyle (College of Charleston, USA)

Tom Stoneham (York, UK)

 

Call for Papers

Submissions are invited from any discipline, and from researchers of all levels (including PhD students). Submissions are welcome on any aspect of the conference theme.

 

To submit for the conference, please email an abstract – maximum 800 words – to the conference organiser, Emily Thomas [a.e.e.thomas@rug.nl]. The abstract should be anonymised for blind review, and the email should contain the author’s details (name, affiliation, contact details). The deadline for abstract submission is 20th October 2015.

           

For further details – including suggested topics – please see the conference webpage:

www.rug.nl/ggw/news/events/2016/early-modern-women-on-metaphysics-religion-and-science

Read Full Post »

Feminist History of Philosophy

Andrew Janiak at Duke University is leading a team of eight faculty, students and staff in developing a web site on the works of early modern women philosophers. The website will include unpublished texts, translations of texts that have never been translated into English, and other materials such as sample syllabi from any philosophy courses that discuss these philosophers.

The web site, which will go live in the spring, will initially centre on four philosophers — Anne Conway, Damaris Cudworth Masham, Margaret Cavendish and Emilie du Chatelet. Andrew Janiak is therefore looking for a selection of syllabi (in PDF, HTML, or another format) that showcase how these figures have already been integrated into philosophy courses at various levels.

If you have such a syllabus and would like to help, please send it by email to janiakATduke.edu

View original post

Read Full Post »

The Ninth Annual Conference of the Leibniz Society of North America will be held at the Ohio State University in Columbus on October 23–25, 2015, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Leibniz Review and Glenn Hartz’s editorship.

Papers on any aspect of Leibniz’s philosophy will be
 considered and should have a reading time of approximately 45
 minutes.
Submissions should take the form of abstracts of 1,000 words or less and should be submitted, prepared for blind review, to lsna2015@osu.edu in either Microsoft Word or PDF format. The deadline for the receipt of submissions is February 15th, 2015.

Authors will be notified by April 1st, 2015 of the program committee’s decision.

More information on the conference website.

Read Full Post »

I happened to see on twitter that the British American Drama Academy is staging the first ever performance of Margaret Cavendish’s “The Unnatural Tragedy”.  Director Graham James Watts says that rehearsals begin November 10th, and the performance will be on December 10th.

His objective is to show that Margaret Cavendish is performable.

Sadly, I will be on the wrong continent to try seeing this, but any UK-based Modernists might want to check it out.

It sounds like there is some interest in getting video of the event, but it is unclear whether they will be able to.  I hope they do, because I would love to see a staged production of Cavendish!

Read Full Post »