Thomas Hobbes: The Unity of Scientific and Moral Wisdom
There can be no doubt that Thomas Hobbes intended to create a complete philosophical system. In recent years, piecemeal analysis has ignored that intention and reduced his philosophy to an unsystematic jumble of irreconcilable parts. It is generally believed that Hobbes's mechanistic physics is at odds with his notorious egoistic psychology, and that the latter cannot support his prescriptive moral theory. In this book Gary B. Herbert sets forth an entirely new interpretation of Hobbes's philosophy that takes seriously Hobbes's original systematic intention.
The author traces the historical and conceptual development of Hobbes's science, psychology, and politics to reveal how those separate parts of his philosophy were eventually united by developments in his concept of 'conatus.' After an analysis of Hobbes's accounts of space, matter, and body, the author concludes that, although Hobbes is clearly a materialist, his natural philosophy is not the naive mechanics it is often thought to be, but a precursor to modern phenomenology.