Miletus Preserved I: Hobbes

Wallace Matson

in Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812691
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919420 | DOI:
Miletus Preserved I: Hobbes

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Although participants in the scientific enterprise comply at least tacitly with the Milesian requirements of monism, naturalism, and rationalism, not all philosophers have followed suit. Many metaphysicians continue to believe in the contingency of the world, thereby still stirring the pot in which simmer the traditional ‘problems’ of external-world skepticism, induction, other minds, etc. But two 17th century philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and Benedict Spinoza, produced Grand Theories satisfying the Milesian requirements. Hobbes's Monism consisted in asserting that nothing exists but bodies in motion. Sensations and all mental items are motions in the brain. Hobbesian Naturalism was his claim that bodies are not driven by forces other than those inherent in them. He was a Rationalist, holding that all true propositions are necessarily true. He did not distinguish between philosophy and science: both are the finding out of causes from effects and vice versa, by “ratiocination.”

Keywords: monism; naturalism; rationalism; contingency; skepticism; sensation; brain; ratiocination

Chapter.  1200 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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