Hobbes is a lyin' schmoe


I have a confession to make. I have never read Leviathan. My best academic friend did his friggin PhD dissertation on Hobbes and I have never read the Limey. So, as A promise to aforementioned buddy, I have started reading Leviathan (and Moby-Dick, concurrently, hehehehe). I’m up to chapter five and I’m mad. Hobbes is a lyin’ rat bastard. In Chapter 4 “Of Speech”, he says one of the four abuses of speech is “when [men] use words metaphorically; that is, in other sense than that they are ordained for; and thereby deceive others” (P34 Oakeshott editor, 1986 Macmillan) THEN!!! three freakin pages later we come across this

“Subject to names, is whatsoever can enter into or be considered in an account, and be added one to another to make a sum, or subtracted one from another and leave a remainder. The Latins called accounts of money rationes, and accounting ratiocinatio; and that which we in bills or books of accounting call items, they call nomina, that is, names; and thence it seems to proceed, that they extend the word ratio to the faculty of reckoning in all other things.” (P37-38 ibid)

So, wait, ratiocination was originally ordained to be used in the sense of money and accounts and not in the reasoning of speech and names. So, that would make it … (wait for it, wait for it) A METAPHOR!!! So reason itself is a metaphor and therefore disallowed? AAAAHHHHHH!!!

Melville is a greater philosopher than Hobbes.

yes, Hobbes’ work lacks consistency…

of course Calvin is the one who is in charge…


Agreed. Greater BUT similar

I know that reasoning is deception because reasoning discounts the Giant Turtle that guides all of us.

the first sentence in chapter five is

“Reason, what it is.”

I think this should be read as

“Reason, what it is?”

and Leviathan is now a whole new book about a young hustler on the streets of London tryna find his way home.

no, hobbes is using an analogy to explain the initial process of rationalization. analogies, which compare things to something else, are different from metaphors beceause metaphors are poetic devises that compare for aesthetic reasons. analogies compare for understanding purposes. hobbes isn’t lying, i’m quiet certain he believed what he wrote. did he believe so correctly? perhaps. but that would require you to read him correctly.

I agree with you. I think Hobbes was telling the truth and that he does make the distinction between analogy and metaphor, belittling one as merely aesthetic while the former is a firm knot in the rope-ladder of reason.

However, as I read the book Leviathan, having read Richard Rorty and George Lakoff’s books Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity and Philosophy in The Flesh respectively, I think that analogy and metaphor are the same thing and that the distinction is specious and based on the ex post facto split of philosophy from literature. Narratives are narratives whether they be fancy and called Leviathan or simple and called Ficciones.

they seem similar don’t they? hobbes would probably argue that analogy came first, as it is/was a basic human function to compare. comparision translated to poetry seems to take an extra step, making the metaphor come second. hobbes would have claimed this step to be frivioulous.