THOMAS HOBBES AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGEJune 28, 2021
Regarding language, Hobbes states that language is the last link of the causal chain that begins with the movement of external objects; He argued that external objects cause sensation, sensations cause thought, and thoughts are expressed in language.
Hobbes states that the language, which he argues can change thought in human beings, exists in two forms as writing and speaking. Claiming that nouns, especially genus names, are fundamental in language, Hobbes took a nominalist stance when it comes to the problem of universals.
According to the philosopher, who sees the problem of universals as the problem of why generality occurs and whether there are things called genus and species, there is no generality that exists independently of the mind, apart from and beyond genus nouns.
In other words, according to Hobbes, who argues that there is no generality, species and genera existing in non-linguistic reality, what really exists are only individuals, individual objects.
According to the philosopher, who connects the generality to the fact that there are similarities between objects and argues that we name a set of objects with a common name because of these real similarities, there are four types of meaningful names, and therefore language:
1. Matter names that correspond to an object in the external world and contribute to our understanding of what it is (object language)
2. For example, abstract nouns (predicate language) that appear in the form of nouns and are derived from a property of the substance, as in length
3. The language of sensation that will express the functions or characteristics of the bodies, as in the example of color or hearing.
4. Nouns that are the name of a noun in the language, such as universal or special (upper language)
Saying that all meaningful words have to fall into one of these four categories, Hobbes strongly opposed the thinkers who created a philosophical jargon and argued that a word that cannot be defined and reduced to the perception of physical objects is not meaningful, while prioritizing twentieth century positivism.
He said that reasoning consists of addition and subtraction and therefore should be understood according to the arithmetic model. According to Hobbes, who claims that the logician combines two nouns to make an affirmation, two affirmations for a syllogism, and many syllogisms for a proof, logic consists of adding and subtracting nouns in different combinations.
Ahmet Cevizci; Paradigm Philosophy Dictionary