Thomas Hobbes and the World of BodiesJune 28, 2021
According to Hobbes, philosophy is generally concerned with the causes and qualities of objects.
It was stated that there were three types of bodies; physical bodies, the human body, and the political body, namely the state. The only fundamental principle that concerns all three is motion, because they are all in motion. Movement is the temporary abandonment of one place, the acquisition of another.
What causes motion displaces what is moving. Things in a state of inertia maintain this state unless something moves them. Only a moving object can cause motion of an inertial object. The moving object cannot maintain its inertia state. Likewise, a body in motion continues its motion unless its motion is stopped by another object. Based on the premise that “only bodies exist”, Hobbes says that all reality processes will be explained in terms of moving bodies. Not only the physical but also the mental changes, as things are differentiated by the movement of one thing within them by another.
Motion is the only fundamental principle that encompasses all three physical bodies, the human body, and the political body, the state, because all three of them are in motion.
The extension and temporality of the body are as essential as motion. Space is the image of something existing outside the mind, and time is the image of before and after in motion. Although they have objective foundations, they exist in our minds as images. The objective basis of space is the body that can be thought of as existing in abstraction from all its qualities. The object is called ‘object’ due to its extension and is accepted as ‘existing’ because it is not dependent on our thinking. Whether space and time are infinite also depends on the way we imagine them. We can imagine space and time as finite or as finite. In this regard, nothing definite can be said. Space and form are qualities that are common to all bodies and do not disappear unless the body is destroyed.
No body can be thought of as spaceless and formless. The form can change, but there can be no body without form. Space and form are therefore primary qualities. Whereas, a quality like hardness can be followed by softness. Size is the same as space. Is the size the same as the ground? According to Hobbes, it is not the same thing. ‘Place’ is the image of any body of this or that quantity and form, and this image is not something outside the mind; Phenomenal space, whereas size is real space and creates the image we call place. We have discussed under the subheading of epistemology that secondary qualities do not exist in the way they are presented to consciousness: color, sound, smell, taste and tangible qualities are nothing but phenomena or images. Philosophy is an effort to find the causes of these phenomena, that is, our images.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook