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  1. Hobbes on Language: Propositions, Truth, and Absurdity.Stewart Duncan - 2016 - In A. P. Martinich & Kinch Hoekstra (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-72.
    Language was central to Hobbes's understanding of human beings and their mental abilities, and criticism of other philosophers' uses of language became a favorite critical tool for him. This paper connects Hobbes's theories about language to his criticisms of others' language, examining Hobbes's theories of propositions and truth, and how they relate to his claims that various sorts of proposition are absurd. It considers whether Hobbes in fact means anything more by 'absurd' than 'false'. And it pays particular attention to (...)
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  • Hobbes, Universal Names, and Nominalism.Stewart Duncan - 2017 - In Stefano Di Bella & Tad M. Schmaltz (eds.), The Problem of Universals in Early Modern Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Thomas Hobbes was, rather famously, a nominalist. The core of that nominalism is the belief that the only universal things are universal names: there are no universal objects, or universal ideas. This paper looks at what Hobbes's views about universal names were, how they evolved over time, and how Hobbes argued for them. The remainder of the paper considers two objections to Hobbes's view: a criticism made by several of Hobbes's contemporaries, that Hobbes's view could not account for people saying (...)
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  • Hobbes on the Signification of Evaluative Language.Stewart Duncan - 2019 - Hobbes Studies 32 (2):159-178.
    Hobbes repeatedly expressed concerns about moral and political language, e.g., about the bad consequences of various uses and misuses of language. He did not simply focus on the consequences though. He also attempted to understand the problems, using the central semantic notion in his philosophy of language, signification. Hobbes, in both the Elements of Law and Leviathan, argues that a wide variety of terms – including ‘good’, ‘bad’, and the names of virtues and vices – have a double and inconstant (...)
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  • Thomas Hobbes.Stewart Duncan - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), whose current reputation rests largely on his political philosophy, was a thinker with wide ranging interests. In philosophy, he defended a range of materialist, nominalist, and empiricist views against Cartesian and Aristotelian alternatives. In physics, his work was influential on Leibniz, and lead him into disputes with Boyle and the experimentalists of the early Royal Society. In history, he translated Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War into English, and later wrote his own history of the Long Parliament. (...)
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