Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes

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In presenting their correspondence, I highlight the means in which Hobbes is able to divorce nature and politics in his philosophy. This is done by bringing to light Hobbes’s agreement with Descartes’s deceiving God argument. First, I demonstrate Hobbes’s hidden agreement with it by analyzing his objection to Descartes’s first Meditation. Second, I show that Hobbes and Descartes both retreat into consciousness in order to deal with the possibility of deception on the behalf of God. Third, I trace Hobbes’s rational justification for entertaining that very possibility. Fourth, I bring forward Hobbes’s certain principle, that God is incomprehensible. Fifth, I ... continued below

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iv, 43 pages

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Gorescu, Gabriela August 2015.

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  • Gorescu, Gabriela

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In presenting their correspondence, I highlight the means in which Hobbes is able to divorce nature and politics in his philosophy. This is done by bringing to light Hobbes’s agreement with Descartes’s deceiving God argument. First, I demonstrate Hobbes’s hidden agreement with it by analyzing his objection to Descartes’s first Meditation. Second, I show that Hobbes and Descartes both retreat into consciousness in order to deal with the possibility of deception on the behalf of God. Third, I trace Hobbes’s rational justification for entertaining that very possibility. Fourth, I bring forward Hobbes’s certain principle, that God is incomprehensible. Fifth, I demonstrate Hobbes’s rationalization for rendering nature incomprehensible in turn. From this key insight, the differences between the two philosophers stand out more. Whereas Descartes rids himself of the possibility of a deceiving God, Hobbes does not. Sixth, I show that Descartes needs to rid himself of that possibility in order to have a basis for science, Hobbes’s science is such that he does not need to rid himself of that possibility. My investigation ends by considering both Hobbes’s and Descartes’s stance on nature, in relation to politics. I find that Hobbes’s principle is much more practical that Descartes’s principle. Hobbes’s principle is shown to be much more instructive and sustainable for human life. In conclusion, this analysis of the origins, principles, and orientation of the two philosopher’s thought brings forward the overarching question, whether the recovery of value and meaning is to be brought about in nature, or in civilization.

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iv, 43 pages

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 2015

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 4, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

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  • Oct. 23, 2017, 4:42 p.m.

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Gorescu, Gabriela. Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes, thesis, August 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804825/: accessed July 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .