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Made with Words: Hobbes on Language, Mind, and Politics
     

Made with Words: Hobbes on Language, Mind, and Politics

by Philip Pettit
 

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ISBN-10: 0691129290

ISBN-13: 9780691129297

Pub. Date: 01/03/2008

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hobbes's extreme political views have commanded so much attention that they have eclipsed his work on language and mind, and on reasoning, personhood, and group formation. But this work is of immense interest in itself, as Philip Pettit shows in Made with Words, and it critically shapes Hobbes's political philosophy.

Pettit argues that it was Hobbes, not

Overview

Hobbes's extreme political views have commanded so much attention that they have eclipsed his work on language and mind, and on reasoning, personhood, and group formation. But this work is of immense interest in itself, as Philip Pettit shows in Made with Words, and it critically shapes Hobbes's political philosophy.

Pettit argues that it was Hobbes, not later thinkers like Rousseau, who invented the invention of language thesis—the idea that language is a cultural innovation that transformed the human mind. The invention, in Hobbes's story, is a double-edged sword. It enables human beings to reason, commit themselves as persons, and incorporate in groups. But it also allows them to agonize about the future and about their standing relative to one another; it takes them out of the Eden of animal silence and into a life of inescapable conflict—the state of nature. Still, if language leads into this wasteland, according to Hobbes, it can also lead out. It can enable people to establish a commonwealth where the words of law and morality have a common, enforceable sense, and where people can invoke the sanctions of an absolute sovereign to give their words to one another in credible commitment and contract.

Written by one of today's leading philosophers, Made with Words is both an original reinterpretation and a clear and lively introduction to Hobbes's thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691129297
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/03/2008
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter One: Mind in Nature 9
Chapter Two: Minds with Words 24
Chapter Three: Using Words to Ratiocinate 42
Chapter Four: Using Words to Personate 55
Chapter Five: Using Words to Incorporate 70
Chapter Six: Words and the Warping of Appetite 84
Chapter Seven: The State of Second, Worded Nature 98
Chapter Eight: The Commonwealth of Ordered Words 115
Summary 141
Notes 155
References 169
Index 177

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