Archive for the ‘Thomas Hobbes’ Category

The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech

October 29, 2009

The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Part 1, Chapter IV

 

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There can be nothing so absurd, but may be found in the books of philosophers

September 16, 2009

For it is most true that Cicero saith of them somewhere; that there can be nothing so absurd, but may be found in the books of philosophers.

Thomas Hobbes

This is what Hobbes calls in man:

…the privilege of absurdity, to which no living creature is subject, but men only. And of men, those are of all most subject to it that profess philosophy.

Leviathan, ch. 5

Claiming to be wise, they became fools… Romans. 1.22

Leisure is the mother of philosophy

September 5, 2009

Leisure is the mother of philosophy; and Commonwealth, the mother of peace and leisure. Where first were great and flourishing cities, there was first the study of philosophy. The Gymnosophists of India, the Magi of Persia, and the Priests of Chaldaea and Egypt are counted the most ancient philosophers; and those countries were the most ancient of kingdoms. Philosophy was not risen to the Grecians and other people of the West, whose Commonwealths, no greater perhaps than Lucca or Geneva, had never peace but when their fears of one another were equal; nor the leisure to observe anything but one another. At length, when war had united many of these Grecian lesser cities into fewer and greater, then began seven men, of several parts of Greece, to get the reputation of being wise; some of them for moral and politic sentences, and others for the learning of the Chaldaeans and Egyptians, which was astronomy and geometry. But we hear not yet of any schools of philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 4, 46

So peace is necessary to the advancement of culture and science etc.

Ignorance of the law is no good excuse

September 4, 2009

ignorance of the law is no good excuse, where every man is bound to take notice of the laws to which he is subject.

Hobbes, Leviathan, ch.25, 2

Right interpretion follows author’s intent

September 1, 2009

…t is not the Letter, but the … Meaning, that is to say, the authentic Interpretation of the Law .. in which the nature of the Law consisteth; And therefore the Interpretation of all Laws dependeth on the Authority Sovereign; For else, by the craft of an Interpreter, the Law my be made to beare a sense, contrary to that of the Sovereign; by which means the Interpreter becomes the Legislator.

All Lawes Need Interpretation.
All Laws, written, and unwritten, have need of Interpretation.

Hobbes, Leviathan, 2, 26

NB in this context, ‘interpreter’ is a judge.

We don’t know the future

August 4, 2009

There is no action of man in this life that is not the beginning of so long a chain of consequences as no human providence is high enough to give a man a prospect to the end (my emph.). And in this chain there are linked together both pleasing and unpleasing events; in such manner as he that will do anything for his pleasure, must engage himself to suffer all the pains annexed to it; and these pains are the natural punishments of those actions which are the beginning of more harm than good.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD BY NATURE, ch. XXXI