Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
17Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Hobbes Studies, Vol. XVII-2005

Hobbes Studies, Vol. XVII-2005

Ratings: (0)|Views: 631|Likes:
Published by parvizm
The most natural and the most artificial:
Hobbes on imagination•
JUHANA LEMETTI
in Hobbes Studies, Vol. XVII-2005: 46-71
In his Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes illustrates the peculiar ways of the human
mind by the following train of thought:
For in a Discourse of our present civill warre, what could seem more impertinent,
than to ask (as one did) what was the value of a Roman Penny?
The most natural and the most artificial:
Hobbes on imagination•
JUHANA LEMETTI
in Hobbes Studies, Vol. XVII-2005: 46-71
In his Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes illustrates the peculiar ways of the human
mind by the following train of thought:
For in a Discourse of our present civill warre, what could seem more impertinent,
than to ask (as one did) what was the value of a Roman Penny?

More info:

Published by: parvizm on Aug 25, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/11/2014

pdf

text

original

 
46
The most natural and the most artificial: Hobbes on imagination
JUHANA LEMETTI
In his
 Leviathan
,
 
Thomas Hobbes illustrates the peculiar ways of the humanmind by the following train of thought:
For in a Discourse of our present civill warre, what could seem more impertinent,than to ask (as one did) what was the value of a Roman Penny? Yet the Cohaerenceto me was manifest enough. For the Thought of the warre, introduced the Thought of delivering up the King to his Enemies; the Thought of that, brought in the Thoughtof the delivering up of Christ; and again the Thought of the 30 pence, which was theprice of that treason; and thence easily followed that malicious question; and all thisin a moment of time; for Thought is quick.
1
The political connotation of the passage, Hobbes’ use of the Judas-allusion, is notextraordinary. Aside of being an icon of treachery, the allusion was the part andparcel of the discourse of discussing the deliverance of Charles I. For example,Marchamont Needham wrote in the epitaph of James,
 
the Duke of Hamilton:
Rather than he his ends would missBetrayed his Master with a kiss.
2
This essay is a truncated version of one of the chapters of my forthcoming doctoral thesis thatwill study more extensively imagination in the philosophy of Hobbes. When working with thesubject I have had the privilege to enjoy the supervision of Professor Timo Airaksinen (Helsinki)and Doctor Noel Malcolm (Oxford). Their advice and commentary have been beyond compare.The following persons have also given insightful remarks on different stages of the work: Dr.Tuomo Aho (Helsinki), Dr. Martin Bertman, Professor
 
Hans Blom (Rotterdam), Phil. Lic. ErnaOesch (Tampere), Dr. Pauliina Remes (Helsinki) and Professor Maria Lukac de Stier (BuenosAires). I am especially grateful to MA Jani Hakkarainen (Tampere). Lastly, I began the writingof the essay when I was a visiting graduate at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. I wish to thank the college and, in particular, the college librarian Sue Killoran, for their hospitality and help.This work has received financial support from the Academy of Finland.
1
Thomas Hobbes
 , Leviathan
, 2
nd
edition, edited with an introduction by Richard Tuck, CambridgeUniversity Press, Cambridge 1998, I.III, 9. References are
 
given by Roman (parts and chapters)and Arabic (page number(s) that follow the pagination of the Head edition and are indicated inthe margins of the central editions of 
 Leviathan
) numerals. Hereafter:
 Leviathan
.
2
 
 Digitus Dei: or, God’s Justice upon Treachery and Treason; Exemplifyed in the Life and  Death of Late James Duke of Hamilton.: Being an exact Relation of his traiterous practices
 Hobbes Studies
, Vol. XVII-2005: 46-71
 
47Two other connotations, psychological and stylistic, come to mind. Seen fromthe first perspective, the passage is a kind of proto-associationism.
3
It is also easyto agree that the passage is one more apt example in the texture of 
 Leviathan
.All these connotations elucidate Hobbes’ philosophical practice, but saylittle about the very claim that the coherence of the train of thought is manifestenough. One may ask, how is a comparison that combines contemporary politicsand the history of Christianity compatible with Hobbes’ mechanism and mate-rialism, and, in particular, with his empiricism, according to which “there is noconception in a mans mind, which hath not at first, totally, or by parts, beenbegotten upon the organs of Sense“?
4
The question does not only relate to oneparticular occasion, but highlights a tension in Hobbes’ philosophical system;the tension which grows out when his materialistic and empiricist starting pointmeets his linguistic and rationalistic philosophical method and which, I think,culminates in his analysis of imagination.No independent study of Hobbes’ notion of imagination is available, but thenotion is a part of standard discussions of Hobbes’ psychology.
5
The standardview says that sense is the central notion in Hobbes’ psychology and that imagi-nation, as all the other cognitive faculties, is a mode of sense.
since the year, 1630. Together with a true and full discovery of the mysterie of his engagement  for the destruction of the King and his royall posterity. Whereto is added an Epitaph
, London1649, 31. I am indebted for Dr. Clive Holmes (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford) for this piece of information.
3
See, for example, Richard Peters,
 Hobbes
,
2
nd
edition, Peregrine Books, London 1967, 107-108; Georg Croom Robertson,
 Hobbes
, reprint, Thoemmes Press, Bristol 1993 [1886], 129;and above all Clarence DeWitt Thorpe,
The Aesthetic Theory of Thomas Hobbes
, Universityof Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1940, 90-96.
4
 
 Leviathan
I.I, 3. The similar example of the coherence of conceptions in
 Elements of Law
 strengthens this intuition. See Thomas Hobbes,
 Elements of Law: Human Nature and DeCorpore Politico with Three Lives
, edited with an introduction and notes by J. C. A. Gaskin,Oxford University Press, Oxford 1993, I.IV.2, 31. References are
 
given by Roman (part,chapter) and Arabic (article) numerals, which are followed by page number(s) in this edition.Hereafter:
 Elements
.
5
Studies of some interest include Thorpe 1940, 79-117; Peters
 
1967, chapter 4; F.S. McNeilly,
The Anatomy of Leviathan
, MacMillan, London 1968, 30-1; Miriam M. Reik,
The Golden Landsof Thomas Hobbes
, Wayne State University Press, Detroit 1977, 141-143; Tom Sorell,
 Hobbes
,Routledge, London 1986, 82-84; Gary B. Herbert,
Thomas Hobbes: The Unity of Scientific and  Moral Wisdom
, UBC Press, Vancouver 1989, 69-70; Bernard Gert, ‘Hobbes’ Psychology’, in TomSorell (ed.),
The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge1996, 157-174; Cees Leijenhorst,
 Mechanisation of Aristotelianism: The late Aristotelian Settingof Thomas Hobbes’ Natural Philosophy
, Brill, Leiden-Boston-Köln 2002, 89-97. Of some impor-tance is Dennis Sepper, ‘Imagination, Phantasms, and the Making of Hobbesian and Cartesianscience’,
 Monist 
71:4 (1988), 526-542. For a general account of 17
th
-century theories of cogni-tive faculties that also discusses Hobbes see Gary Hatfield, ‘The Cognitive Faculties’, in
TheCambridge History of Seventeenth-century Philosophy:
 
volume II 
, edited by Daniel Garber andMichael Ayers, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1998, 953-1002.
 
48The two specific areas where imagination has been studied in Hobbes are inhis ideas of art and in his civil philosophy.
6
Sometimes these are associated and,for example, Skinner writes that “if we wish to understand Hobbes’s changingbeliefs about the value and use of 
ornatus
, we need to begin by sketching histheory of imagination, a theory first outlined in chapter 10 of 
The Elements of  Law
and definitively unfolded in the opening three chapters of 
 Leviathan
.
7
Both readings bring out some aspects of Hobbes’ notion of imagination. Thelatter reading tells a great deal about Hobbes’ way of doing civil philosophy andits intellectual context, but at the same time eclipses the fundamental level onwhich the developed use of imagination is based. The more conventional inter-pretation again misses the diversity and elegance of Hobbes’ understanding of the basic processes of the mind.The aim of this essay is to fill the described gap by studying imagination inHobbes’ theories of the human mind and of knowledge. In the first place it willsummarise something that could be called Hobbes’ theory of imagination, butonly in the mentioned areas. Through this, the essay will also comment on howHobbes’ notion of imagination has been understood and more broadly how weshould understand the nature of his philosophy.
 Hobbes’ vocabulary of imagination
Hobbes is not always clear with his use of concepts.
8
The difficulty is not onlythat his vocabulary changes from text to text, but also that the meaning of a sin-gle concept changes when it is discussed in relation to other different concepts
6
A detailed study of imagination in art and in civil philosophy is not possible here. However,for the first, see Thorpe, 1940; Reik 1977; Charles Cantalupo,
 A Literary
Leviathan -
Thomas Hobbes’ Masterpiece of Language
, Bucknell University Press / Associated University Press,London and Toronto 1991; and Raia Prokhovnik,
 Rhetoric and Philosophy in Hobbes’
Leviathan,Garland, New York-London 1991. Hobbes’ view is also briefly discussed in the broaderhistorical development by James Engell in his
The Creative Imagination: Enlightenment to Romanticism
, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts & London, England, 1981,12-17. The following works consider imagination in Hobbes’ civil philosophy: Sheldon Wolin,
Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought 
, expanded editionPrinceton University Press, Princeton NJ 2004, chapter 8, esp. 216 and 220 and
 Hobbes and the Epic Tradition of Political Theory
, with an Introduction by Richard E. Ashcraft, University of California 1970; David Johnston,
The Rhetoric of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Cultural Transformation
, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1986; and Prokhovnik 1991. Themost complete work that studies both is Quentin Skinner,
 Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophyof Hobbes
, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1996.
7
Skinner 1996, 363-364.
8
An acknowledged reason for this is that no developed philosophical vocabulary in Englishexisted. Tuck has summarised the issue: “Hobbes created English-language philosophy. Beforehis work, there was little written in English on the more technical areas of philosophy – on

Activity (17)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
Oxony20 liked this
Oxony20 liked this
juaapd liked this
netharvest liked this
Chiara Bottici liked this
Oxony20 liked this
Oxony20 liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->