In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

,178 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY in accord with Thomas on certain important points, but his own theology is more in the spirit of Plato and Augustine. Professor Kristeller's vast learning is at the service of admirably balanced conclusions . Not everyone will agree with all his interpretations; Ficino perhaps did not imagine himself to be "constructing a system of philosophy" (p. 96) since the very title of his work, Theologia platonica, suggests that he continues, with new materials, the labor of mediaeval theolo#ans. And Ficino's doctrine of the continuity of the supernatural life of the soul in this world and the next (p. 120) seems to be completely in accord with Thomas. But the author's very careful scholarly method and sound general conclusions are beyond criticism. Two hitherto unpublished Latin texts are printed in critical edition at the end of the French lecture, the Opus aureum in Thomistas by Baptists Mantuanus, which is anti-Thomas, and the Opusculum ad Laurentium Medicem on beatitude, by Vincentius Bandellus, which is pro-Thomas. Like Professor Kristeller's fine lecture, these new texts are a permanent contribution to scholarship. PAUL J. W. MILLER University of Colorado The Anatomy of Leviathan. By F. S. McNeilly. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1968. Pp. 264. $8.50) The one thing about which Hobbes's commentators have agreed is the absence of any significant process of development in the several statements of his philosophic views. This has been most evident in their willingness to use the various texts as a common repository from which evidence for their interpretations could be drawn with little regard for its specific textual origin. Notoriously, no consensus has emerged from such endeavors and McNeilly believes this method of interpreting Hobbes far too indiscriminate. He contends that careful examination of the differing expressions and contexts of apparently recurrent arguments will show, in many cases, not the same argument repeated several times, but several different arguments. And these, properly discriminated , reveal a definite pattern of development culminating, in Leviathan, with a political theory substantially different from that of the earlier works. While the political theory of the Elements of Law and De Cive consists of a series of predictions founded on the known psychological tendencies of men, the theory of Leviathan, MeNeilly contends, is independent of any particular concept of human nature. Rather it is a "formal system of necessarily true propositions" (p. 213) constituting "a systematic analysis of value systems generally" (p. 245). Excepting two introductory chapters, the whole of McNeilly's argument is given over to substantiating this radical thesis, his point of departure being Hobbes's allegedly shifting views on method which are taken to vary somewhat inconsistently in the earlier works among self evidence, conventionalist and hypothetico-deductive theories and combinations of these. By contrast, in Leviathan, McNeilly argues, Hobbes expounds a conventionalist view with "clarity and persistence" (pp. 84-85). When this BOOK REVIEWS 479 conventionalism is combined with the adoption of mathematics as the paradigm of sound science, it leads Hobbes to the view that pohtical theory can be constructed as a formal system of necessary propositions because he believes that mathematics is about the world and extends this mistake to formal systems generally. These methodological commitments then, render any concept of human nature irrelevant to political theory. McNeilly's task in the second main section of the book is to show that in contrast to the earlier works, and contrary to all appearances, the Leviathan's account of human nature is completely neutral with regard to any possible set of motives and hence, wholly formal. Specifically he argues that materialism and mechanism play no active role in Hobbes's account of the passions and that the psychological egoism characteristic of the Elements and the fourth part of De Corpore is abandoned. (Throughout it is assumed that De Corpore was substantially complete before Leviathan was composed; this may not be true of the fourth part, as McNeilly recognizes, but he is undeterred.) The formal account of the passions in Leviathan then is formally compatible with either egoistic or nonegoistic interpretations of human motivation. Similarly, it is argued that Hobbes gives up his pessimism about men as...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 478-482
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.