Archive for December, 2014

George Heap - Map of Philadelphia

Going to the APA Eastern next week? The program is packed with exciting papers, addresses and symposia in modern philosophy—many by contributors to this very blog. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the days, mod style.


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2015 Locke Workshop Program

UWO-CUNY John Locke Workshop

May 1-3, 2015

London, Ontario

Friday May 1

8:30-9:00         Coffee

9:00-10:15       Nathan Rockwood (Virginia Tech) “Locke on Scientific Knowledge”

Andrew Janiak (Duke) (commentator)

10:15-10:45     Coffee Break

10:45-12:00     Patrick Connolly (Iowa State) “Locke and the Methodology of Newton’s Principia

Bill Harper (Western) (commentator)

12:00-1:45       Lunch

1:45-3:00         Geoffrey Gorham (Macalester) and Ed Slowik (Winona State) “Locke on Temporal and Spatial Measures”

Katherine Dunlop (UT Austin) (commentator)

3:00-3:30         Rotman Speaker Reception

3:30-5:00         Peter Anstey (Sydney) (Rotman Speakers Series) “Locke on Measurement”

7:00-10:00       Dinner

Saturday May 2

8:30-9:00         Coffee

9:00-10:15       Lex Newman (Utah) “Locke’s Empiricism and His Mechanist Idea of Body”

Antonia LoLordo (UVA) (commentator)

10:15-10:45     Coffee Break

10:45-12:00     Allison Kuklok (St. Michael’s) “Locke, Hume, and Causal Power in Bodies”

Michael Jacovides (Purdue) (commentator)

12:00-1:30       Lunch

1:30-2:45         Benjamin Hill (Western) “Natural Powers in Locke’s Philosophy of Science: A Contradiction?”

Elliot Rossiter (Western) (commentator)

2:45-3:00         Coffee Break

3:00-4:15         Patrick Arnold (Nebraska) “Locke’s Conventionalism about Biological Species”

Susanna Goodin (Wyoming) (commentator)

4:15-4:30         Coffee Break

4:30-5:45         Margaret Atherton (UW- Milwaukee) (Invited) “Locke and Berkeley on Real Knowledge

7:00-10:00       Dinner

Sunday May 3

8:30-9:00         Coffee

9:00-10:15       Kathryn Tabb (Pittsburgh) “Locke’s Mad Errors: Associated Ideas and the Ethics of Belief”

Louis Charland (Western) (commentator)

10:15-10:30     Coffee Break

10:30-11:45     Jessica Gordon-Roth (CUNY) “Locke, Clarke, and Collins on the Possibility of Thinking Matter”

William Uzgalis (Oregon State) (commentator)

11:45-1:00       Lunch (for those traveling later in the day)

Session Chairs: Edwin McCann (USC), Julie Walsh (UQAM), Benjamin Hill (Western) and Jessica Gordon-Roth (CUNY)

Organizers: Benjamin Hill and Jessica Gordon-Roth

Registration Deadline for those who wish to attend, but who are not on the program:

April 15

To register please send an email to: johnlockesociety (at) uwo (dot) ca

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In a previous post, I pointed to Hobbes’s theorizing about moral language at the end of chapter 4 of Leviathan. I argued that Hobbes thinks moral terms have a double signification: they signify something in the world, and also something about the nature of the speaker — something about them that contributed to their applying that word to this thing.

The notion that some moral or political terms have a double signification is also visible in the earlier Elements of Law. Thus ‘aristocracy’ and ‘oligarchy’ “signify the same thing, together with the divers passion of those that use them; for when the men that be in that office please, they are called an aristocracy, otherwise an oligarchy” (EL 20.3). Both ‘aristocracy’ and ‘oligarchy’ have two significations. Each signifies some group of men. Each also signifies the attitude of the speaker towards that group, be it positive or negative.

Understanding Hobbes’s view about the double signification of moral terms can also help us to understand his discussions of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. One of those occurs earlier in the Elements of Law:


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(Poem by Margaret Cavendish, Poems and Fancies, 1653, spelling modernized by me)

In Gardens sweet, each Flower mark did I,
How they did spring, bud, blow, wither, and die.

With that, contemplating Man’s short stay,
Saw Man like to those Flowers pass away.

Yet build Houses, thick, and strong, and high,
As if they should live unto eternity.

Hoard up a Mass of Wealth, yet cannot fill
His Empty Mind, but covet he will still.

To gain, or keep such Falsehood Men do use,
Wrong Right, and Trurh, no base ways will refuse.

I would not blame them, could they Death out keep,
Or ease their Pains, or cause a quiet Sleep.

Or Buy Heaven’s Mansions, so like Gods become,
And by it, rule the Stars, the Moon, and Sun.

Command the Winds to blow, Seas to obey,
To level all their waves, to cause the Winds to stay.

But they no power have, unless to die,
And Care in Life is a great Misery.

This Care is for a word, an empty sound,
Which neither Soul nor Substance in is found.

Yet as their Heir, they make to inherit,
And all they have, they leave unto this Spirit.

To get this Child of Fame, and this Bare Word,
They fear no Dangers, neither Fire, nor Sword.

All horrid Pains, and Death they will endure,
Or anything that can but Fame procure.

O Man, O Man, what high Ambition grows,
Within your brain, and yet how low he goes!

To be contented only in a Sound,
where neither Life, nor Body can be found.

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