Hobbes is often portrayed as a thinker who anticipated modern constructivist ideas of fiction and representation according to which reality is simply a social construction. This article questions this view in two ways. First, it clarifies Hobbes’s reflections on fiction, by comparing his discussion of images as either “resemblance” or as “the representation of one thing by another” in the Leviathan, with his thoughts on fiction and imagination, particularly in De Corpore and De Homine. Second, it shows that these two notions of images correspond to two ideas of fiction, one based on a combination of Aristotle’s concept of the imagination and Hobbes’s conceptualization of the laws of motion, and the other that centres on language and how meanings are assigned to signs and words. I argue that, although Hobbes hardly succeeds in combining these two ideas of fiction, what they share is that neither can be interpreted as an anticipation of modern constructivist theories of representation.

Imagining Leviathan: Hobbes's Aristotelian Notion of Fiction and the Problem of Representation

Mulieri
2022-01-01

Abstract

Hobbes is often portrayed as a thinker who anticipated modern constructivist ideas of fiction and representation according to which reality is simply a social construction. This article questions this view in two ways. First, it clarifies Hobbes’s reflections on fiction, by comparing his discussion of images as either “resemblance” or as “the representation of one thing by another” in the Leviathan, with his thoughts on fiction and imagination, particularly in De Corpore and De Homine. Second, it shows that these two notions of images correspond to two ideas of fiction, one based on a combination of Aristotle’s concept of the imagination and Hobbes’s conceptualization of the laws of motion, and the other that centres on language and how meanings are assigned to signs and words. I argue that, although Hobbes hardly succeeds in combining these two ideas of fiction, what they share is that neither can be interpreted as an anticipation of modern constructivist theories of representation.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5011890
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