“Nor is there any such thing as … simply good”

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 …

“For one man calleth Wisdome, what another calleth feare”

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 …

A few of the Philosophical Letters

After putting together a small set of extracts from Margaret Cavendish’s Philosophical Letters for a class, I figured that others might find it interesting or useful, so I posted it online: Some of the Philosophical Letters. That page presents five of the letters in part 1 of Cavendish’s book: letter 1 (which is introductory), letter 4 …

Cavendish and causal models

[Cross posted from http://philosophymodsquad.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/cavendish-and-causal-models/.%5D I want to say a little bit about the way Margaret Cavendish thinks about causation.[1] A key aspect of that is an inversion, or set of inversions, of what other modern philosophers were up to. One prominent trend in modern philosophy was what is called mechanism. The central mechanist idea is …

Recent editions of works by Margaret Cavendish

I have attempted to list below all the editions of Cavendish’s works published in the last 20 years. This list does not include appearances of Cavendish’s works in anthologies; translations; texts in subscription databases; or editions in theses and dissertations. Cavendish, Margaret. 1994. The Blazing World and Other Writings. Edited by Kate Lilley. London: Penguin. …

The errors of the naturalists

Following on, in a way, from Lewis’s post, here’s something from Henry More’s Philosophical Poems. This is that awfull cell where Naturalists Brood deep opinion, as themselves conceit; This Errours den where in a magick mist Men hatch their own delusion and deceit, And grasp vain shows. Here their bold brains they beat, And dig full …

Do only minds express God?

[Cross-posted from modsquad.] As I’ve been arguing in previous posts, Leibniz in 1686 offered an argument that [A] all individual substances express God. As he put the point in the essay “Primary Truths”, “all individual created substances are different expressions of the same universe and different expressions of the same universal cause, namely God” (my italics). However Leibniz also …

Why think that substances express their causes?

[Cross-posted from modsquad.] Leibniz thought (at least sometimes) that substances express God, because they express their causes. But why did he think that substances express their causes? In this post I briefly explore three ways in which we might try to understand his reasons for this. Version 1: expression and knowledge The late-1670s note “What is …

Leibniz on substances’ expression of God

[Cross-posted from modsquad.] Leibniz frequently uses the notion of expression. Expression is apparently a sort of representation relation. But what, according to Leibniz, has to happen for one thing to express another? Well, what often seems clear is the requirement that there be a regular relation between the expresser and the expressed. We might understand the debates …