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BOOK REVIEWS 12 5 basis for believing in a personal connection ends up resting upon a strange logic--the fact that neither mentions the other directly is held to be an indication of closely held beliefs. On the other hand, good evidence exists to suggest that Maier and Fludd, although knowledgeable of each other's work, were not personally linked. In 16 l 8, for instance, Maier wished to send a copy of Fludd's Utriusque cosmi.., historica to Landgrave Moritz. He refrained from doing so when he learned that Moritz already possessed three copies. Furthermore, in his letter to the prince, Maier actually rebuked Fludd for his insolence in condemning the personal qualities of German princes.' The recently completed "Bio-Bibliography" of Maier by Karin Figala and Ulrich Neumann also points to complications in assuming a connection between the two and in supposing that Maier was the one who carried Fludd's great work to the de Bry press in Frankfurt. Despite a few problems of historical accuracy, Huffman's volume is an important one and adds significantly to our understanding of Fludd and his social and intellectual surroundings. Readers will benefit from a solid discussion of Fludd's better and lesser known works and will gain as well an important perspective in evaluating Ftudd's true place in the early modern era. BRUCE T. MORAN University of Nevada, Reno G. A. J. Rogers and Alan Ryan, eds. Perspectives on Thomas Hobbes. New York: Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press, 1988. Pp. ix + ~o9, $39.95" There are many reasons for continuing to read Thomas Hobbes. His influence on the course of English political thought has been profound. Although many seventeenthand eighteenth-century writers were anxious not to be associated with him, as G. A. J. Rogers shows in his essay on "Hobbes' Hidden Influence," they were caught in the psychological and ethical paradigms that he set. At the very least these critics had to dispense with Hobbes's arguments; many were unwittingly imbued with Hobbesian notions about human behavior. But Hobbes's influence was not confined to England: he was a figure of European stature, an intellectual bedfellow of Galileo and Descartes, "that incomparable man," in Mersenne's phrase. As Frangois Tricaud puts it in his urbane paper on Hobbes's thought, his ideas never came to a standstill; they were refined and restated throughout his works and in a prose style renowned for its perspecuity. This book of essays attests to the great variety and depth of Hobbes's thought, as well as to the very high quality of modern Hobbes scholarship. There is something here for everyone. For the biographically minded, Noel Malcolm explores the reasons for Hobbes's exclusion from the Royal Society: Was he shunned as the club bore, too clever by half, or was it that being so clever he advanced views uncomfortably close to ' Murhardsche Bibliothek der Stadt Kassel und Landesbibliothek, Kassel: 2 MS Chem 19, vol. l, fol. 285r--v. 126 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 99:1 JANUARY 199I those of the easy-riding members of the Society? Meanwhile, in a fascinating chronological expos6, Richard Tuck shows that Hobbes had developed a full-fledged mechanistic philosophy before 1637 when he responded to issues raised by Descartes, and therefore, pace Brandt, can bear reasonable comparison with the French philosopher as the "founder" of that mode of thought. Those with a penchant for logical niceties will not be disappointed either. David Gauthier advances a characteristically intricate argument about Hobbes's alienation contract theory, which throws up the delicious paradox that Hobbesian man is psychologically incapable of committing himself to performing actions which are not in his interest at the time of their performance, even if, as in the case of obeying an absolute sovereign, such actions lead to his own (longer-term) interest. But Hobbes is committed to the need for absolute sovereignty, not to a state of affairs where the ruler merely coordinates the actions of his subjects for their mutual benefit. The analysis has therefore revealed a fundamental weakness in Hobbes's political theory. If Gauthier's contribution highlights a problem of incompatibility in Hobbes's thought, Arrigo Pacchi's...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 125-127
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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