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“True”as a name of second intention in Hobbes

№ 23 (2012)
Jose V. Bonet


(1) On Hobbes's philosophy of language and Semantics

Hobbes's[1] philosophy of language has fallen victim of its own schematic character and, above all, of the greatness of his political philosophy. Only in the last decades analytic philosophy has discovered its Hobbesian roots, star­ting from contemporary theories as varied as Tarski's defini­tion of truth, the linguistic turn and the theory of meaning, the speech acts, Wittgenstein's critique of pri­vate lan­guage, or the relationship between mental content and public langua­ge.[2] This paper is only indirectly concerned with some of these topics. I will mainly emphasize a Hobbe­sian concept of se­cond order, that of 'name of second inten­tion' (and specially 'name of speeches'), and examine its semantic and prag­matic applications to the concept of truth and to speech acts, such as the pro­mise or co­venant.


According to Hungerland and Vick's brilliant interpretation, the concepts of denotare and significare should be systematically distinguished in Hobbes's "Computatio sive Logica" (= De corpore I). The concept of significare emerges from a sort of idealized natural history of the birth of human lan­gua­ge that Hobbes extends to provide a frame for some differences between "symbols" and "signs", the natural and the arbitrary, the private or memoristic and the social or communicative, in­cluding topics of philosophy of mind, such as the rela­tions between the users of symbols (or signs) and their mental conceptions.[3] I cannot dwell here on the contemporary inter­pretations (and over-interpretations) of this Hobbesian explanation of meaning. For my purpo­ses, the central point is that human names work as conventio­nal symbols and signs ontologically dis-connected of the nature of things. That is the metaphysic background of Hobbes's nomina­lism.[4] However, this paper deals only partly with Hobbes's explanation of denotation.


We can speak now of Hobbes's  "Semantics" in a sense of the term similar to the contemporary use, i.e. as an explanation of the truth or fal­sity of a sen­tence in accordance with its composition out of names (Martin).  As it is usual in pre-Fregean philosophy,[5] the core of  this Semantics is the unchallenged relation of denotation that connects a name with its bea­rer or nominatum ('to be the name of' or 'to have a name',  esse nomen (of), habere nomen, etc.). [6] But it is useless to seek in Hobbes's writings any explanation of this relation.  Maybe to Hobbes's mind his theory of meaning does supply such an account; but in fact that is not the case. Instead of a theoretical explanation, he provides numerous taxonomies of names, which consequently play an inescapable role. Among these taxonomies, Hobbes frequently remembers one of general scope, which distinguishes between 'negative names', such as "nothing" or "no man", and positive names. This latter common label in­cludes four different sub-kinds: [7] 

(A)                         Concrete names or names of bodies, such as "man", "li­ving", "moved" or "hot", i.e. predicates (sortals or not) that we apply to mate­rial things.

(B)                         Abstract names of accidents, such as "life", "being hot" or "heat", which allow us to consider any quality that we conceive to be in the bodies.

(C)                         Names of images produced in us by the bodies, such as "sight", "sound" ... and the names that we can apply to our oneiric fancies.

(D)                          Names of second intention, such as (D1) names of names ("equivocal", "universal" or "genus"), and (D2) names of speeches ("definition", "affirmation" or "syllogism").

Hobbes makes a controversial use of that taxonomy in the original English version of the penultimate chapter of Leviathan (46 chapter) to reject the legitimacy of any form of spiritualism, when speaking about "immaterial subs­tances" or "separated essences", for instance: given that, when a name is not referred to bo­dies -as in (A)-, then it is either a name derived from lan­guage -as in (B) and (D)-, or merely the name of a phantom of the mind -(C) case. We could say that this is "Hobbes's Razor".


Naturally Hobbes considers the names of bodies (A) to be the most ge­neral case, the 'paradigm' of names to which all other kinds of positive names are dichotomously opposed in the "Computatio". So, there is a kind of names (C) that de­notes, not bodies but images produced in us by the bodies[8]; another kind (B) denotes, not bodies but a quality that we con­ceive to be in them[9]. That is also the case of names of second intention (D), which are no names of the things about which we speak in the ordinary life, but names of names and spee­ches (nomina nominum et orationum), about which we speak in science (DC I.ii.10).


The distinction between (A) and (C) appears in Hobbes's all logical writings. Ac­cording to an old interpretation, for Hobbes, all the names denote or mean ideas or fancies of the mind -as in the (C) case-.[10] Maybe this view was first suggested by Leib­niz, whose New Essays brings Locke's doctri­nes on  lan­guage closer to Hobbes's.[11] At any rate, this interpretation is clearly false: for Hobbes, names of images are only one of the four kinds of positive names. Moreover, the difference between (A) and (C) -names of bodies and names of fancies- is quoted by Hobbes to underline (perhaps naively) a difference between animal and human ways of thinking: since a natural, non-symbolic thought is only linked to similarities, it can­not distinguish a body from its image on the mirror, which is similar to the original body. For  him, this difference emerges only through language, by means of a symbolic thought apt to dis-connect the difference between a body and its images.[12]


(2)  "Abstract" names and Nominalism

Now we move on to (B) and (D) cases. Abstract names and names of second intention are mentioned only in Hobbes's more ma­ture works of Logic, the "Computatio" and Leviathan.  Formerly, in the language God gave Adam there was neither abstraction nor name of second intention (L iv, 18 f.). Both kinds of na­mes, as well as the diversity of tongues are the result of human inventions, according to Hobbes's idealized explanation of meaning. Therefore, they particularly highlight the lack of close links between human speech and the nature of things. On the same ground, they play a key role in the criticism of scholastic metaphysics, partly summarized by Hobbes in the chapter 46 of Leviathan, as a rejection of the scholastic view on the old 'transcendentals' "being" and "true", as we will now see:


Abstract names emerge from "a little change or wresting" in a concrete name (A), as an efficient way of speaking and recko­ning (from a mechanistic view), because properties can be "severed, not from matter, but from the account of matter" (L iv, 26, my italics). Thus, abstract names are (semantically) "no na­mes of things" and cannot ever refer to a separated or sepa­rable essence. Hobbes rejects the use of the School's defi­nitory terms, like "entity", "being", "essence" or "quid­dities", for all these abstract names are formed by a wres­ting, not of concrete names, but of the co­pula est itself (or its infinitive), which is a negligible or unnecessary ele­ment of the lan­guage.[13] Therefore, they are strictly "the names of nothing" (L xlvi, 674).[14]


The cri­ticism of abstract and universal names is the common nerve of the empi­ricist tradition. But, in my opinion, the bridge between modern and logical empiricism is precisely the names of second intention, which represent also the newest move in the 'nominalistic turn' due to Hobbes. Until now, only Martin has noted Hobbes's (D) names of second intention as a category "clearly to be distinguished from the rest" (Martin, 207); but he focuses exclusively on (D1) case, "names of names". More recently, de Jong (1990) has pointed out that Hobbes's distinction between first and second intention simplifies and derives from certain concepts contained in Ockham's Summa lo­gicae,[15] with which Hobbes "really did not know what to do".[16] The former is true. I will try to demonstrate that the latter is false.


(3) "Second intention" and "second imposition" in medieval logic

The concept of "sign of signs" is characteristic of medieval philosophy of language from Augustinus's dialogue De Magis­tro.[17] It is im­posed by the double possibility of saying without error that "man is an animal" as well as "man is a name", that governs also the distinction between 'personal' and 'material' suppo­sition.[18] Moreover, medieval logic distinguishes the mental language common to all men, whose terms or "intentions of the soul" signify naturally something, from the different tongues, whose terms (oral voices and written words) signify conven­tionally or "by arbitrary imposi­tion" the same things that the mental language, and precisely by means of the latter.[19] The diffe­rence between first and second intentions plays a syste­matic role in the medieval logic of terms.[20] Briefly, a mental term of first intention, such as "man", "animal" or "white", is a natural sign of singular things, i.e. a term that allows us to answer any question in Aristotelian categories, such as "quid?", "when?", "how?", etc. On the other hand, a term of second intention is a sign of signs, as the universal or predicable terms ("ge­nus", "spe­cies", etc.), that signify those first intentions. Such is the account by Albert of Saxony, for whom the concepts of first and second imposition are entirely si­milar, save for turning natural meaning into conventional me­aning.[21]


In Ockham we find a more crafty account. He dis­tinguishes ac­curately between imposition and intention, and furthermore, he gives all these concepts at least two senses, one broad and another strict. His ac­count can be now simplified in the following manner: the names of second imposition are (exclusi­vely or not) pure ar­bitrary signs of meaningful parts of a pro­position, and not signs of concepts or intentions of the soul. They are typically grammatical terms, such as "name" or "verb", and particu­larly, "conjuga­tion" or "(syllogistic) figure", which can never be applied to inten­tions. All other categorematic terms are na­mes of first imposition. These can be both first and second intentions, approximately in the sense explained above: A name of first intention "means" things, exclusively or not. A name of second intention means in strict sense first inten­tions, or -in a broad sense- first intentions as well as con­ventional signs.[22] Both Ockham and Albert consider the term "being" ("ens") as a name of first in­tention, but for Ockham it can mean things as well as signs;[23] it is a  term of first intention in a broad sense (as we will see later).


(4) Hobbes's names of "second intention"

We can now evaluate the conceptual differences of Hobbes's names of second intention, and then discuss his new applica­tions of this concept. In the first place, Hobbes rejects any possibility of a "na­tural meaning" for symbols or signs of a human language. For him, we can speak of natural signs in the ge­neral case of animals provided with memory, whose images of smoke or fire evoke reciprocally the image perceived in the past as antecedent or consequent. Beyond this natural level, any sym­bolic or meaningful relation is arbitrary, defi­ned by human imposition. The human symbolic systems make also the emer­gence of new forms of non-na­tural thin­king possible, spe­cially through universal, abstract and second intention na­mes; so, there is a gap between the order of represen­tation and the natural order of things. This is the source of Hobbes's con­ventionalism.[24] In this way, the medieval mentalism declines, and so does its distinction between 'intention' and 'imposition'. Hobbes uni­fies all Ockham's non-empirical concepts ('second intention' and 'se­cond imposition') in a single semantic category. In the "Computatio", the typical names of first intention are in fact me­re empirical terms or names of bodies (A), whereas the nine examples of second intentions (D) quoted in this work correspond to theore­tical con­cepts belonging to logical theory. We can conclude that all lo­gical categories, or more wi­dely, all ca­tegories -logical, grammatical or other- belonging to the theory of lan­guage are names of second intention or se­cond or­der. Thus, the distinction between first and second intentions can be approached as a dif­ference between empiri­cal and theoreti­cal terms, or even, as Martin saw, "in terms of the distinc­tion between language and metalan­guage." (Martin, 207).


In the second place, it is true that Hobbes's logic, because of its own schematic character, simplifies the concepts at issue giving very brief definitions. Therefore, these concepts must be evaluated less by their de­finitions than by their applications. On this point, the main novelty of Hobbes's 'second inten­tions' is to extend their scope in two steps: first, from the logic of terms to the logic of propositions and syllogisms, i.e. to the whole logic; and second, from the traditional logic of assertoric or "apophantic" speech  (the "propositions", in  Hobbes's terminology) to a whole theory of language including non-apophantic speeches and what we now call "speech acts", as it has been highlighted by Hungerland and Vick. In this way, Hob­bes's dis­tinc­tion between 'names of names' (D1, below) and 'names of spe­eches' (D2) pursues systematic goals that go beyond the tradi­tional lo­gic. This double extension of the concept can be shown as follows:


The first extension takes place in the "Computatio", a text deliberately restricted to the Aristotelian or traditional logic of "propositions" (DC I.iii.1 and 2), where Hobbes already distinguishes "names of names" (D1) from "names of spe­eches" (D2) such as "definition" or "syllogism" (DC I.ii.10). And so, the criticism to the notion of "necessary being" (ens neces­sarium) is just that "necessary" and "con­tingent" are always names of propositions (D2) and never names of tings (A) (DC I.iii.10 and v.9).


The second extension of the medieval concept goes beyond assertoric speech. The political philosophy of De Cive and Leviathan requires a wider theory of language including the indicative, the imperative speech of desire, and optative speeches like those of vainglory and indignation (L vi, 49 f.). [25] This wider theory of language distinguishes repeatedly a "simple voice" as a name from "the effect" of the words when they form "a perfect speech or discourse, whereby the speaker affir­meth, denieth, commandeth, threate­neth, wisheth or inte­rrogateth" (L xxxvi, 407-11; see also  DC I.iii.1). My sole point here is that the new logic concept of names of se­cond intention provides a category for a wider theory of language, which includes explicitely some speeches that, according to Aristotle's De interpretatione (17 a 5-7), belonged to rhetoric or poetic.


In the 46 chapter of Leviathan we can find both these  extensions:

"universal, plural, singular are the names of names; and definition, affirmation, negation, true, false, syllo­gism, interrogation, promise, covenant, are the names of certain forms of speech" (L xlvi, 673).


So, "true" and "false" are names of se­cond intention of speeches as well as "promise" or "cove­nant".


(5)  "True" is a name of second intention

The above quotation is, on the other hand, the sole fragment that explicitly confirms my central thesis that, for Hobbes, "true" is also a name of se­cond intention, considering that this fragment appears only in Hobbes's "English works", but not in the subse­quent (and, on this point, more concise) Latin version of Le­viathan. Thereby this thesis deserves to be discussed at length. The literature often remembers Hobbes's most re­­peated thesis on truth, i.e., that

<1> "true" and "false" are attributes of speech, not of things; they are properties de dicto, and not de re.[26]

The "definiteness" with which Hobbes insists on this point has been soundly compared to Tarski's and Carnap's views. As a matter of fact, some commentators have found in Hobbes an early and suggestive approach to the semantic definition of truth, given that his formulations imply that a sentence of the form "S is P" (being names both "S" and "P") is true if, and only if, "P" denotes every object which "S" does.[27] However, in my opinion, we can find an earlier, similar anticipation to this contemporary semantic view in medieval logic, at le­ast in Albert of Saxony, to whom Hobbes's definitions are close.[28] Likewise, both authors insist in the equivalence principle between 'p' and 'it is true that p'. So, Hobbes's own novelty on this matter is that


<2> "true" is technically a name of second intention (or se­cond or­der) of certain forms of speech ... and nothing else.


This is the point that has been overlooked by critics so far. It arises not only from the isolated text quoted above, but also from the following firm grounds:


First, when we make use of Hobbes's distinction between na­mes of first and second intention, thesis <1> turns automatically into thesis <2>: "true" and "false" are not names of first intention (de re), but of second intention (de dicto). Second, we have concluded above that, for Hobbes, all logi­cal concepts and all terms belonging to the theory of language are names of second intention. Admittedly, "true" and "false" are terms of the logical theory. There­fore, they are also names of second intention (D). Furthermore, for Hobbes the pair "affirmative"/"negative" has the same logical status as the pair "true"/"fal­se".[29] Besides, "affirma­tive" and "negative" are "marks of truth and falsity" (DC I.iii.1), according to the traditional view. The two former terms belong unequi­vo­cally to kind (D2) of names of second intention, since they appear in all lists of (D) examples offered in Leviathan.[30] Is there any reason for not including also "true" and "false" in the same (D) kind?


A further question is: Have medieval logicians analysed truth as a name of second intention as well? Albert of Saxony did not address this question. He restricted the use of this concept to the tradi­tional logic of terms, according to which second inten­tions are universals and predicables terms. Ockham's case is different: his logic of terms includes the question on the logic value of transcendentals 'being', 'true', 'good', etc. Reading the question from Tarski's view, Ockham's most clas­sical researchers (Boehner and Moody), claim that Ockham had already thought "true" as a name of second intention. But, in fact, they cannot of­fer proof of direct textual evidence. Their whole argument depends on one condition as decisive as it is aporetic:


"If we restrict the meaning of "true" and "false"... to the realm of propositions, that is, to logical truth and falsity, the terms are second intentions and not first intentions."[31] (my italics)

Ockham himself did not make this restriction, whilst Hobbes did decidedly state that "true" is logical truth, and nothing else.[32] On the contrary, Ockham evoked the reciprocal conver­tibility of the terms "true" and "being" and assigned the same logical status to both terms: they are "connotative terms", which signify something primarily and something else secondarily.[33] Now, for Ockham "being" is unequivocally a term of first intention in a broad sense.[34] Consequently, this should be also the status of "true". And that is actually the case: there is a fragment where Ockham states clearly that "true", "being" or "good" are names of first intention that sometimes "mean" things and sometimes signs (i.e. in a broad sense).[35] This fragment is inexplicably absent from the English trans­la­tion of the Summa Logicae (due to Michael Loux) consulted by de Jong, Hobbes's critic on this point).[36] But the above quoted Ockham's commen­tators have been obliged to recognize it as authentic.[37]


Ockham usually conceives va­rious senses for one term; "true" means sometimes things and sometimes propositions. On the contrary, for Hobbes a statement such as "the image on the mirror is not a true man" is equi­valent to: "the proposition 'the image on the mirror is a man' is not true" (DC I.iii.7). Thus, the opposition between 'true' and 'apparent' is reduced to the propositional opposition 'true'/'false'. This is, in my opinion, a consistent anticipation of a neo-positivistic approach on truth that can be summarized as follows: Hobbes does not assign allocate the same logical sta­tus to the terms "being" and "true". The former is subjected to the theories of propositions and abstract names; the lat­ter, to a new theory of names of second order or second intention.


(7) Historiographical conclusions

Finally, I will briefly address some historiographical questions linked to my findings on Hobbes's semantics, particularly regarding the whole Hobbesian system and the empiricist tradition.


Some critics have rejected any "autonomous" signification to Hobbes's  logic. Engel (1961) thinks that it is in fact subordinated to other substantive philosophical interests of the author. And Johnston (1986) has argued that the link between Hobbes's metaphysics and politics is precisely the common "polemic effect" produced in both cases, i.e. a bare rhetorical link.[38] Against this kind of interpretation, I hope to have sufficiently proved that the rejection of metaphysical Aristotelism presented in the penultimate chapter of Leviathan (of evident political purposes) is closely linked to the substantive thesis on the nature of language, which is in fact close to the 20th century analytic philosophy. We have seen the concept of names of second intention and its applications as a double extension of the traditional logic to semantic questions as well as to the pragmatic effects of the speech.


It is a fact that the analytic tradition has taken a long time to discover its Hobbessian roots. In the twenties, only Heidegger correctly saw in Hobbes the model for a logistic approach to ontology. Both the greatness of Hobbes's political thought and the schematic character of his logical writings contribute, among other causes, to such a striking oblivion. In this way, Hobbes's philosophy of language was only seen (wrongly) as an antecedent to Lockes's thought. On the contrary, we can now briefly suggest another interpretation. In historical terms, the core of the matter has two parts:


On the one hand, modern philosophers have seen language from Bacon as a victim of the idola fori, as a cobweb that obscures the supposed transparency of the mind. So, language can solely be disentangled by breaking the link between words and ideas.[39] On the other hand, the modern repulse of Aristotle's and School's metaphysics usually involves the repulse of traditional logic (the only one known at that time). This rejection leads to the absence of a positive (and not solely critic) theory of  language. It is on this latter point that Hobbes's position is more subtle. For him, logic is the cornerstone that should found the criticism of metaphysics and theology (as in L xlvi). Both natural and civil philosophy show that language allows us to learn as well as to deceive; to agree on a social and legal order, as well as to eloquently manipulate people.[40] Hobbes's excessively schematic logic and theory of language attempts to provide the grounds for all these aspects. When comparing Hobbes's treatise De Corpore to subsequent major works of empiricist epistemology, we note that logic loses ground to the theory of ideas, and this theory becomes the systematic site for the concept of truth.[41] But in Hobbes we find that a positive theory of language concerned with  denotation and with the social effects of the speech provides an incisive organon for a linguistic criticism of metaphysics.


José V. Bonet (Universidad Católica de Valencia; Spain)


[1]  For the writings of Hobbes, my main sources are the editions of W. Molesworth: Thomas Hobbes, Opera latina (OL), 5 vols., and The English Works of Thomas Hobbes (EW), 11 vols.; both in Darmstadt: Scientia Verlag Aalen, 1961-1966. The following abbreviations are also employed:

DC I = De Corpore, pars I (= "Computatio sive  Logica"), in OL, vol. I (OL I, 17 = page 17; DC I.ii.7 = "Computatio", chapter 2, art. 7)

L = Leviathan, in EW III (L iv, 26 = Leviathan, chapter 4, page 26 of EW III)

HN = Hu­man Na­ture, in EW IV (HN v.3 = HN, chapter v, art. 3)

DH = De Homine, in OL II.

The opuscle De Cive can be also found in OL II. Moreo­ver, I consider the 30 chapter of the so-called "Anti-White" (= AW), in the Spanish edition of B. Forteza Pu­jol (Hobbes, Thomas. Li­bertad y necesi­dad; y otros escritos. Barcelona, Península, 1991).

[2]  Acero, Juan J. Lenguaje y fi­losofía. Barcelona: Octaedro, 1993, sp. 32-41.- Ball, Terence. "Hobbes's Lin­guistic Turn." Polity 17 (1985): 739-60.- Bertmann, Martin A. "Hobbes on Language and Reality." Révue internationale de Philo­sophie 126 (1978): 536-50.- de Jong, William R. "Hobbes's Logic: Language and Scientific Method." History of Philosophy of Logic 7 (1986): 123-142; and "Did Hobbes Have a Se­mantic Theory of Truth?" Journal of the History of Philosophy 28 (1990): 63-88.- Hacking, Ian. Why Does Language Mat­ter to Philosophy? Cambridge: Cambridge Un. Press, 1975, sp. 15-25; Hungerland, Isabel C. and George R. Vick. "Hobbes's Theory of Signification." Journal of the His­tory of Phi­losophy 11 (1973): 459-82.- Krook, Dorothea. "Thomas Hobbes's Doctrine of Mea­ning and Truth." Phi­losophy 31 (1956): 3-26.- Martin, R. M. "On the Semantics of Hob­bes." Phi­lo­­so­phy and Phenomenological Reasearch 14 (1953/54): 205-11.- Engel, S. Morris. "Hobbes's Table of Ab­sur­di­ty." Phi­lo­so­phi­cal Re­view 70 (1961): 533-43.- Pécharman, Martine. "Le dis­cours mental se­lon Hobbes." Archives de Philosop­hie 55 (1992): 553-73.- Sacks­teder, William. "Some Ways of Doing Language Philo­sophy: Nominalism, Hobbes and the Linguistic Turn." Re­view of Meta­phy­sics 34 (1981): 459-85; and "Three diverse Sciences in Hobbes: First Philosophy, Geometry and Physics." Re­view of Meta­phy­sics 45 (1992): 739-72.- Törne­bohm, Hakan. "A Study in Hobbes's Theory of Deno­ta­tion and Truth." Theoria 26 (1960): 53-70.

[3]  For instance in  DC I.iii.1-5. For the aporetic relation between significare and nominare,  see DC I..ii.6 or I.iii.1.

[4]  See specially: Robinet, André. "Pensée et langage chez Hobbes." Révue internationale de Philosophie 129 (1979): 451-83.- Zarka, Yves-Charles. "Em­pi­ris­me, nominalisme et matérialisme chez Hobbes." Archives de Philosophie 48 (1985); 177-233; and La déci­sion méta­physique de Hobbes. Paris: Vrin, 1987.- Bernhardt, Jean. "Nominalisme et méca­nisme dans la pen­sée de Hobbes." Archives de Philosophie 48 and 51 (1985y 1988): 235-49.

Other salient, non-analytic, interpretations of Hobbes's metaphysics and philosophy of  language in Bert­man, Jean and Michel Mal­herbe (eds.). Thomas Hobbes: De la métaphysique à la poli­tique, Colloque Franco/amé­ricain de Nantes. Paris: Vrin, 1989; and above all  in Heideg­ger, Grund­probleme der Phänomenologie, Gesamtaus­gabe, vol. 24, Klos­termann, 1975, 260-73 y 286-91. On Hobbes in the history of logic: Formigari, Lia. Lingüística ed empirismo nel seicento inglese. Bari: Laterza, 1970. On relations between nominalism and politics in Hobbes, Ball; and García, Romano. "Nominalismo y formalismo en la filosofía política de Hobbes." Pensamiento 37 (1981): 335-55.

[5]  Tugendhat, Ernst. Traditional and Analytical Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge Un. Press, 1982.

[6]  See "Computatio", passim; Martin, 207; and Törnebohm, 53.

[7]  L iv, 25-27, and xlvi, 672-74; and DC I.v.2-9. See also L v, 34 f.; DC I.ii.6-8 and 10; iii.3-4; HN v.3; AW xxx.16.

[8]  DC I.ii.6 (OL I, 15, lines 11-16).

[9]  DC I.iii.3 (OL I, 28, lines10-22).

[10]  Richard Peters. Hobbes. London: Pelican Press, 1956; , Peregrine Books, 1967John W. N. Watkins. Hobbes's System of Ideas, 2nd ed. London: Hutchinson, 1973.

[11]  Nuevos ensayos sobre el entendimiento humano. Madrid: Alianza, 1992, specially IV.5 (pp. 471 and ff.)

[12]  AW xxx.15 or DC I.iii.8. See also HN v.4 and L. iv, 22 f.

[13]  DC I.iii.2 (OL I, 27 f.); L xlvi, 673 f.; etc.

[14]  This point has not been noted by Heidegger. His in­terpretation has been part­ly revisited by Zarka. My view on this point is different from both.

[15]  Ockham.Somme de logique (Summa logicae), première partie, bilingual Latin/ (The Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1974) and French edition by Joël Byard. Paris: Editions TER, 1988, sp. chap. 11 and 12.

[16]  W. R. de Jong, 1990, 67.

[17]  Obras completas de San Agustín (bilingual edition Latin/Spanish), vol. 3. Madrid: BAC, 1988, see sp. iv.7; v.12; viii.24.

[18]  Alberto de Sajo­nia (Albert of Saxony). Perutilis Lo­gica/Lógica muy útil, o utilísima, bilingual edition Latin/Spanish. México: UNAM, 1988, nm. 198.

[19]  Ockham, chap. 1; Alberto de Sajo­nia, arts. 17-19, 22, 24, 35, 40 and 120-26.

[20]  Ockham, chap. 38 initio and the systematic of chap. 20-60; Alberto de Sajonia, arts. 11-13.

[21]  Alberto de Sajonia, arts. 1, 2 and 120-26; 127 ff.; 263 ff.; and 198.

[22]  Ockham, chap. 11 and 12.

[23]  Alberto de Sajonia, art.. 121; Ockham, chap. 11 in fine and chap. 38 initio.

[24]  See Zarka (1985).


[25]  See L iv, 21 and 26; xiv, 121 and f.; xxv, 240 f.


[26]  L iv, 23; xlvi, 673; HN v.10; De Cive xviii.4; AW xxx.17; DC I.iii.7-8.

[27]  See Martin, sp. 208. Since Martin, that suggestion has been reinforced for H. Törnebohm  and discussed by W. R. de Jong (1990).

[28]  For Hobbes, "truth consisteth in the right ordering of names in our affirmations", and "when two names are joined together into a consequence or affirmation, as thus, a man is a living creature; (...) if the latter name, living creature, signify all that the former name man signifieth, then the affirmation (...) is true; otherwise false." (L iv, 23). We find (in my opinion) a very similar, more extensive and incisive thesis in Albert of Saxony, arts. 90-93 and 106. For instance, the verb 'is', used in tertio adiacens, "signifies a certain composition of the predicate with regard to the subject, i.e., subject and predicate suppose for the same (supponere pro eodem); (...) if it is the case, then the proposition is true, whenever it is not a self-defeating proposition; and if it is not the case, the proposition is false" (art. 90);  "all affirmative proposition signifies that subject and predicate suppose for the same. And all negative proposition signifies that subject and predicate not suppose for the same." (art. 93).


[29]  Both pairs correspond to some of the "distinctions of the propositions" in the "Computatio" (DC I.iii.5-7).

[30]  L iv, 21 and 26; and L xlvi, 673.

[31]  Philotheus Boehner. Collected Articles on Ockham. New York: Franciscan Institute St. Bonaventure, 1958, 254. Practically the same idea in Ernest A. Moody. The Logic of William of Ockham. Reissued New York: Russell & Russell, 1965, 182. Boehner recognizes that "Ockham does not say expressly that truth or falsity are second intentions, they are nevertheless de facto always treated by him as second intentions" (ibid.).

[32]  DC I.iii.7 (OL I, 32).

[33]  Summa logicae, Biard's edition, pp. 37-39 (Latin text, chap. x,  lines 36 f. and 81 ff.).

[34]  Ibid., p. 42 (Latin text, chap. xi , lines 72-78; see also chap. xxxviii, initio).

[35]  "Nomina autem primae intentionis vocantur omnia alia nomina a praedictis, quae videlicet significant aliqua res quae non sunt signa..., cuiusmodi sunt omnia talia... 'animal', 'Sortes','album','ens','verum','bonum' et huiusmodi, quorum... aliqua signi­ficant talia signa et simul cum hoc alias res." (Ibid., p. 41, Latin text, chap. xi , lines 65-71).

[36]  Ockham's Theory of Terms, translated and edited by M. Loux. New York: University of Notre Dame, 1974, p.73.

[37]  Boehner, in his critic edition of  Guillelmi de Ockham. Summa logicae, Opera philosophica et theologica, vol. I, edited by Philotheus Boehner et al. New York: The Franciscan Institute St. Bonaventure, 1974, p.40. Moody,  pp. 45 f.


[38]  Engel; and David Johnston. The Rhetoric of 'Leviathan': Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Cultural Transformation. Princeton: Princeton Un. Press, 1986.


[39]  See Zarka, 1985 and 1987. See F. Bacon, Novum Organum I, sp. arts. 43 y 59 f., in The Works of F. Bacon, vol. I. London, 1858; B. Spinoza, De intellec­tus emendatio­ne, arts. 88-91, in Obras comple­tas, vol. 4. Buenos Aires: Acervo cultural, 1977; J. Locke, An Essay concerning Human Understanding, edited by P.H. Nidditch. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982, sections V.v.3-5 and III.ix.21; Berkeley, A Treatise con­cerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, in The Works of G. Berkeley, vol. 1. Nendeln: Nelson/Kraus, 1979, sp. Introduction, arts. 21-25, and Part I, arts. 33-39.

[40]  At this point, Hobbes is a reader of Tucidides (see Ball).

[41]  In Locke's Essay, the theory of ideas establishes the basis for a theory of language primarily con­cerned with critic aspects; and the concept of truth is defi­nied, not in the (third) section on language, but in the (second and fourth) sections on ideas and knowledge (Essay II.xxxii.1-4; III.ii.5, 7; V.v.1-2; V.v.8-9; etc.). And then, we find no section explicitely concerned with logic or language in Berkeley's Principia nor in Hume's Treatise.


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