[hist-analytic] McPherson's Hobbes

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Feb 11 16:53:05 EST 2010

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_ 
is a 


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'!

McPherson continues:

"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, 
"The decapitation of Charles I's head was the cause of his death,  they  

"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  
civilized men,"

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 

all law 

--  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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