Advanced

Upplysning utan förnuft : begär och frihet hos Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume och Montesquieu

Höög, Victoria LU (1999)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Denna avhandling syftar till att ge en översikt över cirka hundra år av europeisk intellektuell historia som lyfter fram nya aspekter av de klassiska tänkarna. Analysen av de fyra filosoferna Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume och Charles de Montesquieu syftar till att belysa en generell historisk process, nämligen hur den moderna människosynen växer fram i Europa. En slutsats av analysen är att upplysningsmoderniteten är av ett annat slag än den karakteristik som utgår från begreppen rationalitet, empirism, och framstegsoptimism. Den tidiga upplysningens människosyn kan snarare återges i termer av känsla och begär, förnuft och dygd, men i en konstellation där känslorna och begären står i... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Denna avhandling syftar till att ge en översikt över cirka hundra år av europeisk intellektuell historia som lyfter fram nya aspekter av de klassiska tänkarna. Analysen av de fyra filosoferna Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume och Charles de Montesquieu syftar till att belysa en generell historisk process, nämligen hur den moderna människosynen växer fram i Europa. En slutsats av analysen är att upplysningsmoderniteten är av ett annat slag än den karakteristik som utgår från begreppen rationalitet, empirism, och framstegsoptimism. Den tidiga upplysningens människosyn kan snarare återges i termer av känsla och begär, förnuft och dygd, men i en konstellation där känslorna och begären står i centrum. David Humes berömda sentens "Reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions" uttrycker den allmänna uppfattningen mer träffande än Kants betoning av förnuftet som redskap att ta sig ur den självförvållade omyndigheten. Hos de fyra tänkare som behandlas sätts inte begären och känslorna i motsättning till rationalitet, utan ingår som beståndsdel i den praktiska rationaliteten.



Genom känslorna tänker vi världen, genom dem får vi kraft att handla. Utan känslor, inget liv. Men känslorna är inga blinda drifter, utan är åtkomliga för reflektion och kan förändras med erfarenheten. Få filosofer, kanske inte någon, har visat det med större briljans och skärpa än David Hume. Med denna betoning på synen på människans natur förändrar och fördjupar Hume upplysningens idévärld eller, som den alltmer använda termen lyder, den tidigmoderna perioden. I stället för att se känslor som fenomen som ovillkorligen ska bemästras ingår de i det rationella ställningstagandet. Kanske är det ett tidens tecken att först i vår tid, när moderniteten urholkats - om den någonsin funnits - så förlorar den konstlade motsättningen mellan känsla och förnuft sitt anspråk på att vara rationell. (Less)
Abstract
This essay has three main aims. The first one is to give an overview of some hundred years of European intellectual history, bringing out new aspects of the classical thinkers. The analysis of the four philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume and Charles de Montesquieu aims at illustrating a general historical process, viz. the emergence of the modern view of man in Europe. After Hobbes, desires were in constant focus for political theorists. This shift, from the emphasis on man's rationality to his desires, has since characterised the history of European political ideas. The second aim of this essay is to throw light on the character of practical philosophy in an historical perspective. Historically speaking, it has been... (More)
This essay has three main aims. The first one is to give an overview of some hundred years of European intellectual history, bringing out new aspects of the classical thinkers. The analysis of the four philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume and Charles de Montesquieu aims at illustrating a general historical process, viz. the emergence of the modern view of man in Europe. After Hobbes, desires were in constant focus for political theorists. This shift, from the emphasis on man's rationality to his desires, has since characterised the history of European political ideas. The second aim of this essay is to throw light on the character of practical philosophy in an historical perspective. Historically speaking, it has been independent and cherished its ties to the life of human beings. Of the four thinkers treated, Hobbes goes furthest in his attempts to create a scientific political philosophy. However, he realises the limitations to this approach, and in the final version of Leviathan the rhetorical and literary character of political philosophy is emphasised. The three other thinkers, John Locke, David Hume and Charles de Montesquieu, all cherish the independence of practical philosophy. A third aim of this essay is to exemplify a certain way of interpreting historical texts. The interplay between the text and the historical context is in focus in this essay. History generates the political thinker's problems. The very idea of a history, of a past as the object of knowledge, is founded on the conviction that it is possible to communicate with the past. Even if every historical event is unique, and every culture generates its specific experiences, the writing of history presupposes that the intentions of the subject are accessible to interpretation. The question has been to what extent the writing of history can make claims to truth and relevance. It is to be hoped that the discussion has lead to both more modest claims and a greater awareness that historical works expresses a structure which more or less reflects the scientist's perspective of his own time.



One conclusion of the analysis is that the modernity of the Age of Enlightenment is not primarily to be construed from the concepts of rationality, empiricism and progress. The view of man typical of early Enlightenment is rather to be characterised in terms of passions and desires, reason and virtue, but so construed that passions and desires are at the centre. In the four thinkers discussed, desires and passions are not in opposition to rationality, but are included as an aspect of practical rationality. Rather than regarding passions as phenomena to be unconditionally mastered, they were considered part of rational deliberation. Perhaps it is a sign of our times that today, when modernity has become eroded, the artificial opposition between passion and reason loses its claim of rationality. Elements of premodern Enlightenment rationality are coming back, emphasising feelings as the necessary starting-point for practical philosophy. The precondition for freedom consisted in desires and passions rather than in reason. The liberal idea of political freedom emanates from a tradition of thought in Europe which emphasised the emotionality and unpredictability of man. These features are the constant challenge to politics, and the only possible attitude to take for those in power is that of tolerance and freedom towards the citizens. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Prof. Krogh, Thomas, Oslo University, Norway
organization
alternative title
Enlightenment without reason. Desire and freedom in Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume and Montesquieu
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, postmodernism, modernity, women, political freedom, classical republicanism, human nature, reason, virtue, passions, Enlightenment, desire, David Hume, Charles de Montesquieu., History of philosophy, history of ideas, Filosofins historia, idéhistoria
pages
336 pages
publisher
Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion
defense location
Room 201, Department of Cultural Studies
defense date
1999-04-23 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN: LUHFDA/HFFL--99/1006--SE
ISBN
91-7139-429-x
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
d40d4895-5976-4a9d-b5a0-913dbbafca11 (old id 19130)
date added to LUP
2007-05-25 11:11:53
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:02
@phdthesis{d40d4895-5976-4a9d-b5a0-913dbbafca11,
  abstract     = {This essay has three main aims. The first one is to give an overview of some hundred years of European intellectual history, bringing out new aspects of the classical thinkers. The analysis of the four philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume and Charles de Montesquieu aims at illustrating a general historical process, viz. the emergence of the modern view of man in Europe. After Hobbes, desires were in constant focus for political theorists. This shift, from the emphasis on man's rationality to his desires, has since characterised the history of European political ideas. The second aim of this essay is to throw light on the character of practical philosophy in an historical perspective. Historically speaking, it has been independent and cherished its ties to the life of human beings. Of the four thinkers treated, Hobbes goes furthest in his attempts to create a scientific political philosophy. However, he realises the limitations to this approach, and in the final version of Leviathan the rhetorical and literary character of political philosophy is emphasised. The three other thinkers, John Locke, David Hume and Charles de Montesquieu, all cherish the independence of practical philosophy. A third aim of this essay is to exemplify a certain way of interpreting historical texts. The interplay between the text and the historical context is in focus in this essay. History generates the political thinker's problems. The very idea of a history, of a past as the object of knowledge, is founded on the conviction that it is possible to communicate with the past. Even if every historical event is unique, and every culture generates its specific experiences, the writing of history presupposes that the intentions of the subject are accessible to interpretation. The question has been to what extent the writing of history can make claims to truth and relevance. It is to be hoped that the discussion has lead to both more modest claims and a greater awareness that historical works expresses a structure which more or less reflects the scientist's perspective of his own time.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
One conclusion of the analysis is that the modernity of the Age of Enlightenment is not primarily to be construed from the concepts of rationality, empiricism and progress. The view of man typical of early Enlightenment is rather to be characterised in terms of passions and desires, reason and virtue, but so construed that passions and desires are at the centre. In the four thinkers discussed, desires and passions are not in opposition to rationality, but are included as an aspect of practical rationality. Rather than regarding passions as phenomena to be unconditionally mastered, they were considered part of rational deliberation. Perhaps it is a sign of our times that today, when modernity has become eroded, the artificial opposition between passion and reason loses its claim of rationality. Elements of premodern Enlightenment rationality are coming back, emphasising feelings as the necessary starting-point for practical philosophy. The precondition for freedom consisted in desires and passions rather than in reason. The liberal idea of political freedom emanates from a tradition of thought in Europe which emphasised the emotionality and unpredictability of man. These features are the constant challenge to politics, and the only possible attitude to take for those in power is that of tolerance and freedom towards the citizens.},
  author       = {Höög, Victoria},
  isbn         = {91-7139-429-x},
  keyword      = {John Locke,Thomas Hobbes,postmodernism,modernity,women,political freedom,classical republicanism,human nature,reason,virtue,passions,Enlightenment,desire,David Hume,Charles de Montesquieu.,History of philosophy,history of ideas,Filosofins historia,idéhistoria},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {336},
  publisher    = {Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Upplysning utan förnuft : begär och frihet hos Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume och Montesquieu},
  year         = {1999},
}