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BOOK REVIEWS 175 Micheli of the Institute of History of Philosophy at the University of Milan. The first volume contains the biological treatises, letters, and fragments from the Traitd de rhomme to the Passions de l'dme in chronological order, followed by the posthumously published biological manuscripts. The translation reads very well; Professor Micheli strives for precision and consistency in terminology, and does not hesitate to break up those long sentences that make the original texts somewhat less than joyful reading at times. The volume is amply illustrated , and the editor's notes, helpful throughout, provide much historical and bibliographical background. Some typographical and other errors will undoubtedly be corrected in the second and final volume which will cover the mathematics and physics of Descartes. GREaOaS~.~sa Emory University Hobbes's Science o] Politics. By M. M. Goldsmith. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966. Pp. xv + 273. $7.50.) This book sets out to take seriously Hobbes's claim to having created a science of politics. Most interpreters have chosen more or less to ignore this claim in favor of treating Hobbes's ethical and political theories in isolation from the rest of his system. This approach has, however, resulted in massive scholarly disarray; there is practically no agreement among interpreters with regard to even the more fundamental aspects of the ethics or politics. Consequently it is reasonable to hope that taking Hobbes's claims to science and system seriously might provide some stable interpretive ground. Unfortunately the present volume makes little headway in this direction. The apparent plan of the book is to determine the criteria identifying a Hobbesian science (this by way of a general account of Hobbes's theory of science and a brief survey of his natural philosophy in the first two chapters), to give an account of Hobbes's purported science of politics (in chapters m-v1), and, finally, to assess this theory in terms of the criteria developed in the first part (chapter vii). I say "~pparent" plan, because Goldsmith never sets forth any general thesis, and what he is attempting to do at any particular moment is often difficult to discern. An added difficulty results from Goldsmith's taking insufficient pains to distinguish his interpretive comments from his paraphrastic exposition of Hobbes. The section on Hobbes's theory of science is the most unsatisfactory part of the book. While doing verbal homage to Hobbes's place in the analytic-synthetic methodological tradition, Goldsmith tries very hard to assimilate Hobbes into the modern hypotheticaldeductive school. According to Goldsmith a Hobbesian science "starts with certain suppositions or assumptions" (p. 38) which are then deductively elaborated into a theoretical structure. This structure must then be applied to the explanation of "the observations and experiences we have" (p. 39). The test for the adequacy of a theory is the quantity of such data it can explain. Quoting the comment on the final page of De Corpore that "if any other man from other hypotheses shall demonstrate the same or greater things, there will be greater praise and thanks due him than I demand for myself," Goldsmith claims that here Hobbes "explicitly recognizes that a system equally as good, or perhaps better, and based on different assumptions, is possible" (p. 41). Goldsmith's conclusion, which he supports by pointing out that Hobbes nowhere argues for the existence of things like bodies (p. 43), appears to be that the whole system of De Corpore is for tIobbes a purely hypothetical construction carrying no ontological or metaphysical import whatever. Although this is not the place to argue them in detail, there are a few points that may be made about this interpretation. In the first place, while Hobbes does not construct an argument concerning the existence of bodies, he continually refers to them as being independent of our minds (e.g., E. W. I, 102), which carries the suggestion that they are more than just concepts in our head. Further, to make out that Hobbes had no metaphysical commitment to body, his descriptions of the universe as being "the aggregate of all things that have being in themselves" and the "aggregate of all bodies" (E. W. III, 672; E. W...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 175-176
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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