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Donald W. Hanson - Reconsidering Hobbes's Conventionalism | JSTOR: The Review of Politics, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 627-651
Hobbes's linguistic conventionalism is one of the most obvious themes of his work. But it has not been considered as closely as it should be, given its prominence. I argue that Hobbes reworked quite traditional materials in such a way as to produce a novel doctrine, but that this novelty did not involve him in the implausible claim that issues of scientific truth and proof could be settled simply on the basis of linguistic agreement. Rather, he grounded his conventionalism in the prelinguistic, naturally given experience he called "mental discourse," and then linked it to the effort to outflank contemporary skepticism. For these reasons, Hobbes's specific form of conventionalism can then be seen to be central both to the limits of his claims and to what he thought could be established with a certainty robust enough to withstand skeptical challenge. -- bibliography -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  philosophy_of_language  philosophy_of_science  epistemology  17thC  Hobbes  conventionalism-linguistic  scepticism  language  experimental_philosophy  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader

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