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Daniel Garber: Hobbes against the Aristotelity of the Schools in the Leviathan

Lecture by Daniel Garber (Princeton University), organized by the Department of the History of Philosophy

Hobbes against the Aristotelity of the Schools in the Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes by John Michael Wright
Thomas Hobbes by John Michael Wright

In his Leviathan (1651), Thomas Hobbes set himself against the dominant scholastic Aristotelianism then current in the Universities. Indeed, he claimed that philosophy as it was taught in the universities wasn’t even really philosophy, properly speaking. In a memorable passage, he wrote: “And since the authority of Aristotle is only current there [i.e., in the Schools], that study is not properly philosophy (the nature whereof dependeth not on authors) but Aristotelity.”

In this paper, I would like to examine some dimensions of Hobbes’s anti-Aristotelianism in the Leviathan. After examining some of the arguments Hobbes offers, I will also place Hobbes’s position in the context of Hobbes’s politics and his critique of the Catholic Church. In the period, those who challenged the Aristotelianism of the Schools were accused of destabilizing society. I will show how, for Hobbes, challenging Aristotle was part of his attempt to establish a stable civil commonwealth.

When & where?

Wednesday 28th February 2018, 15.15-17.00
Faculty of Philosophy, room Omega

Last modified:06 June 2019 12.43 p.m.