[hist-analytic] McPherson's Hobbes
Baynesr at comcast.net
Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Feb 12 11:42:35 EST 2010
Sorry for the delay JL . There is a lot of long winded stuff
in political theory. Let me comment on a couple of things.
First, actually, I'm not a New Englander . I lived in NE over
twenty years, but the family is from the South and the Midwest.
My branch came up through Tennessee to S. Illinois around
1850. Historically, deep roots in the Confederacy, although
my sympathies were never with the ideas of succession or
slavery etc. Now on counterfactuals .
MacPherson describes his counterfactual approach as
"abstraction," and I think this is pretty much unobjectionable.
But there is something very interesting here. The
counterfactual specification of worlds is one thing, but
its equivalence to a form of abstraction is something
else difficult to deny. By stipulating a world which is
the same except with regard to X in a way I abstract from
the world. So I abstract a class of facts from the world.
Recall Locke. There as I recall abstraction is not of
facts but ideas. So the difference is fundamentally one
of "facts" vs. "things" but there is still abstraction.
There is an important difference.
That important difference is that Locke is an empiricist
and his abstraction is empirical. In the counterfactual
case we extend the method of abstraction to facts or
classes of facts. So we can view counterfactual
stipulation as non-empirical abstraction.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jlsperanza @ aol .com
To: hist-analytic@ simplelists .co. uk
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 1:53:05 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Re: McPherson's Hobbes
What an excellent quote!
S. R. Bayne quotes from
McPherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism:
Hobbes to Locke (Oxford, 1962)
"[Hobbes’s] state of _nature_
this is slightly ambiguous. People do use 'manifesto', 'predicament,
'statement' -- 'fashion as a statement', etc. but call me neo-Strawsonian if I
say that a statement needs to have a better logical 'dress'!
"of the behaviour to which men as
they _now_ are,"
i.e. in 1628. This _is_ important, given the political agenda behind
Hobbes's Leviathan -- and the events of amusingly referred to by Grice, as
"The decapitation of Charles I's head was the cause of his death, they say".
"men who live in civilized societies"
-- as was England during the Civil War! Give me a break!
( Bayne , as a New Englander -- he isn't but I think he SHOULD! will
understand that all I love about the Americans was when visiting New Haven I found
out that all the streets in that town bear the names of the regicides!)
"and have the desires of
such as Cromwell. There is a town in Connecticut I used to visit often:
Cromwell. And L. Horn lives in Hampden!
"would be led if
-- and *contract*
enforcement … were removed."
which is precisely what the royalists (in their typical cavalier attitude
to death) were thinking the roundheads like Cromwell were doing!
The good thing about his counterfactual is that it IS imaginable.
The terrorists from MY part of the world used to chant a counterfactual ,
"If Evita Peron were alive today,
she would be a suicide bomber"
(Si Evita viviera seria montonera).
I always had problem with that counterfactual and not because it's
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