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492 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 29:3 JULY t99 l Descartes, the philosophes, and others; Hobbes's centralizing politics, with a remarkable image of Ben Franklin as a peddler of Hobbesism for the people; Locke on money; the brilliant work in centralization and administration by Louis XVI's finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert; the emergence of the "commercial republic" in John de Witt's Holland and in Robert Walpole's England. By the middle of the eighteenth century, all of Europe was engrossed in the politics of economic growth, which in time called forth the rational institutional solutions of (1) a market economy over a mercantile one (a point made graphic by the failure of even Napoleon to control the market) and (2) the industrial system of production. Caton carries the story down to 1835 with the polarization of labor and capital in Britain. The flaw in the book is that the biosocial theoretical framework which is supposed to provide an independent view of behavior and a radically different account of progress is strangely detached from the narrative. The theory itself is sketched out in the fourteen-page "Introduction" and briefly touched on again in the six-page "Afterword ." There is, unaccountably, no attempt to show how the long narrative in between exemplifies the theory. What emerges is a conception of progress as ever-increasing control of the urban habitat by an elite of polytechnic rationalists. The narrative has undeniable force, but its authority derives from the rhetoric and ritualistic liberalism of the Enlightenment to which we are all heirs--not from the illumination of sociobiology. Missing also is an account of the moralcomponent of progress. As the story unfolds, religious, humanistic, and traditionalistic critics are forced from one wailing wall to the next. Yet these cridcal voices arise from the social and religious structures which are internal to the family and kinship system on which, according to Caton's own theory, political institutions are parasitic. The theory says that energy is drained off the family and kinship system to support public institutions. If so, there is, theoretically, a point of diminishing returns. Caton never discusses what this point is nor what the unhappy fate of the human condition is when polytechnic intelligence goes beyond those bounds which, presumably, have been fixed by biopolitics. The narrative uncovers no insight or truth in the humanistic and religious critics of the politics of progress. This is strange. For Caton's own theory demands a response to Vico's nightmare that advanced modernity is a "barbarism of reflection" where "men go mad and waste their substance," where human ingenuity goes berserk, issuing in the imperative of polytechnic rationality: If it can be done, it will be done. DONALD LIVINGSTON Emory University Gary B. Herbert. Thomas Hobbes: The Unity of Scientificand Moral Wisdom. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1989. Pp. xiv + 2ol. NP. Prof. Herbert has undertaken a task much in need of attention among Hobbes scholars : to reconsider, in the light of recent scholarship, whether or to what extent Hobbes's intention to develop a systematic philosophy was accomplished. This welldeveloped and stimulating volume argues that Hobbes's concept of conatus underlies BOOK REVIEWS 493 every portion of the system, from body to voluntary motion to speech to commonwealth to felicity. The argument of the book is that the mature Hobbes (i.e., from 165o on) in Leviathan and De Corpore especially, shows the fruits of his time in Paris, the shared company or competition of Mersenne, Gassendi, Sorbi~re, and especially Descartes. The core of the problem (as to whether or not Hobbes's system hangs together) is in the physics: how connect an allegedly deterministic mechanism with a psychological theory of sensation and desire leading to choice? The solution is found in Hobbes's concept of conatus, which runs through every segment of his mature philosophy and is developed in counterargument to mechanism. "Hobbes's philosophy, developed out of this concept of'conatus', takes the form of an internally coherent philosophical system that provides us with a dynamic--even dialectical--theory of nature, man and society" (xi). Chapter l, "Hobbes's Philosophical Intention," relates him to his predecessors...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 492-494
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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