Book Reviews: Political Ideas, Hobbes's Science of Politics, Adam Ferguson: The History of Civil Society, The Works of Joseph De Maistre, Rosa Luxemburg, Marxism in Modern France, Marxist Ideology in the Contemporary World, The Moral Challenge of Communism, The Principles of Politics, Pacifism: An Historical and Sociological Study, The Pacifist Conscience, Pacifisme Et Internationalisms, Non-Violent Action: Theory and Practice, The Mafia and Politics, The Honoured Society, The Foundations of Freedom, The Real World of Democracy, The Left in Europe since 1789, Conflict in Society, The Study of Society, Communication and Political Power, Greater London: The Politics of Metropolitan Reform, Guide to Decision: The Royal Commission, Tizard, A Peril and a Hope, The Scientific Estate, Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law, Occasional Papers on Social Administration: No, Land Values, Pensions and Public Servants, Public Sector Pensions, The Responsible Society: The Ideas of Guild Socialism, The

AuthorMichael Leifer,M. Oakeshott,S. R. Mehrotra,William Hampton,B. B. Holden,Alan Ryan,Alan Angell,Colin Seymour-Ure,John Plamenatz,John L. Halstead,Neville Waites,Daniel Snowman,M. J. Le Lohe,Jeffrey Stanyer,G. C. Atkinson,A. H. Hudson,D. Dalton,M. B. Akehurst,Peter Lyon,Hedley Bull,Murray Forsyth,J. M. Lee,Herbert Tint,Coral Bell,Roland Robertson,Alasdair Morrison,K. K. Aziz,Trevor R. Reese,G. S. Reid,Lewis A. Gunn,N. P. Keatinge,Carol A. Cosgrove,Graham Wootton,Basil Chubb,H. G. Nicholas,B. B. Schaffer,Peter Fotheringham,David Vital,Stafford Beer,A. S. Skinner,Raghavan Iyer,David Childs,J. W. N. Watkins,K. J. Twitchett,Michael Nicholson,W. H. Morris-Jones,David Travers,P. A. Reynolds,K. C. Wheare,M. Holdsworth,K. Newton,Robert Looker,J. F. N. Bradley,Morton R. Davies,Brian Rodgers,Geoffrey Warner,M. J. Niblock,Nigel Harris,Michael Levin,I. D. Lloyd-Jones
DOI10.1111/j.1467-9248.1967.tb01847.x
Publication Date01 Jun 1967
SubjectBook Reviews
BOOK
REVIEWS
POLITICAL IDEAS.
Edited by
D.
THOMSON.
(c.
A.
Watts.
Pp.
xi+216.
15s.)
COLERIDGE AND THE IDEA
OF
THE MODERN STATE.
By
D.
P.
CALLEO.
(Yule University Press.
Pp.
viii+
157.
37s.
6d)
Distrust of secondary sources in political theory, while often well grounded, is liable to its
own
disadvantages. To introduce
a
student to the subject by confronting him with, for example,
page
1
of Hobbes’s
Leviathan
is
a
sign of heartening intellectual rigour, but unfortunately does
little towards providing the context of debate
SO
often necessary for the understanding of any
particular text. It is the merit of this short volumeon ‘PoliticalIdeas’thatit willgive thenewcomer
an awareness of the kind of intellectual terrain over which he will be asked to travel, and
of
the
major problems likely to confront him.
The intention of the thirteen contributors
is
to discuss certain historically influential thinkers
of
the last five centuries. Thinkers and themes are linked. Thus we are provided with such titles
as
‘Burke and the Conservative Tradition’, ‘Mazzini and Revolutionary Nationalism’. Each
section
is
provided with its
own
useful bibliography, and the attempt to provide
a
viable whole
is achieved by the recurrent tendency to place each theorist in relation to others of his breed, and
within the context of contemporary political events.
In
spite of necessary brevity, some of the articles stand out
as
admirably clear expositions
of a writer’s views. This is particularly true of
K.
R. Minogue’s account of Hobbesian man,
and
J.
W. N. Watkins’ explanation
of
Mill’s principles and their shortcomings, whilst Alasdair
Macintyre’s characteristically stimulating account
of
‘Recent Political Thought’ also deserves
special mention.
R.
S.
Peters has
been
brave enough to connect the name of Hegel with the affairs of the Thud
Reich, also telling us that ‘seldom in the
history
of thought has the influence of
a
philosopher
been quite so out of proportion to his competence
or
acuteness’. If this is
so,
we need to pose the
question raised by
D.
E.
D.
Beales in his article on Mazzini, namely ‘why
so
unsound
a
theory
should be
so
widely held‘.
The only real disappointment concerns
P.
H.
Vigor’s ‘Marx and Modem Capitalism’. We get
too much of ‘Man
.
. . if he were alive now’ and rather too little explanation of Marxist
philosophy.
The volume begins and ends with articles by the Editor
on
the problems of categorization,
influence, and traditions
of
political thought. The whole collection is likely to prove popular
with
students and
is
well calculated to achieve
its
desired aims of encouraging readers towards the
actual texts.
‘Political Theory’ is obviously reluctant to become ‘The History of Political Thought’.
Thinkers are often deemed worthy of study only if they offer advice vital for our age
as
well
as
their
own.
Thus David
Calleo
provides himself with the task of proving that ‘Coleridgc’s
argument is
as
applicable today
as
it ever was’. This assertion derives from Coleridge’s idea of the
state, a notion that seems to be used in
a
disguised attempt to discourage British entry into the
E.E.C. We are reminded of Coleridge’s stipulation ‘that a worthwhile consensus
can
only
be
achieved within
a
limited community of interests, loyalties, and identities-that such
a
com-
munity can never be universal’.
Specialists may welcome Calleo’s insights into Coleridge’s ‘beguiling wunderlicht quality that
flickers over the swamp’, but others may feel reticent about offering
37s.
6d.
in in exchange
for
only
157
pages.
University
of
Leeds
MICHAEL LEVIN
218
REVIEWS
HOBBES’S
SCIENCE
OF
POLITICS.
By
M.
M.
GOLDSMITH.
(Columbia
University
Press.
Pp.
xv
+
274.
56s.)
This
is a
serious,
scholarly book. It is also rather
a
perplexing book. The perplexity is caused partly
by
theauthor’sreticenceabout
his aim and thesis, partly by hisover-modest method ofexposition.
I
will take the question of his thesis first.
According to the blurb,
‘Mr.
Goldsmith argues that Hobbes’s political philosophy
can
best be
understood as
part
of
his
scientific system.
For
Hobbes, all philosophy was based on Galilean,
analytic-synthetic, method. Hobbes used this method in his natural science, the model
of
a causal
science. Heextended this method to explain human nature and society.’ But when one turns from
the dust-jacket to the book itself, one
finds
no correspondingly clear statement of thesis. In his
Introduction
Mr.
Goldsmith writes:
‘.
. .
Hobbes intended to create a unified philosophy.
Does
attending to this intention lead to a clearer understanding
of
Hobbes’s political philosophy?’
(P. XV). Strange to say, helets this question stand unanswered. On the last page of his Conclusion
(which is followed by eight appendices and
a
bibliography) he writes: ‘I think
I
have shown that
Hobbesattempted to create a scientific
or
philosophic system on the assumptions and methods
of
Galilean science. He attempted to show that a science of natural bodies, a science
of
man, and a
science
of
political bodies could all be elaborated systematically’ (p.
242).
Between his Introduc-
tion and
his
Conclusion come
six
chapters which
deal
in turn with: Philosophy, Natural
Philosophy, Human Nature, The Natural Condition, Construction of a Social Order,
Sovereignty and Government. But one does not establish anything concerning the unity
or
otherwise
of
Hobbes’s thought merely by expounding its parts in this order; and it is only rarely
that
Goldsmith relates something
in
a
later chapter to something in an earlier chapter. He does
briefly mention
a
connexion between Hobbes’s natural philosophy and his account
of
voluntary
motion@. 59); and he stresses @p.
85
and229) the analogy between Hobbes’s imaginary annihila-
tion of the world in
De
Corpore
and his imaginary dissolution
of
society
inLeviathan.
But this is
about all the relating
he
does before he comes to his concluding chapter.
This
is subtitled ‘The
Explanation of Political Phenomena’, and
in
it Goldsmith tries to bring out what he apparently
takes
to be the main implication of Hobbes’s view
of
philosophy
for
his political philosophy.
But
I
have
to
report that
I
found this chapter unsatisfactory. After quoting Hobbes’s claim to
have founded,
in
De
Cive,
the science of natural justice. Goldsmith continues:
‘On
Hobbes’s
om
terms,
a
political science
or
philosophy has to be similar
to
natural science.
. . .
Natural
science is used to give explanations of the observed phenomena
of
nature.
If
Hobbes’s political
theory is scientific, it too must explain the observed phenomena-the experiences
of
men in
society’
(p.
229).
But this ignores a crucial dissimilarity between natural philosophy and civil
philosophy
as
conceived by Hobbes: the former attempts to explain why inanimate things behave
they do, the latter to show how men
would
behave if each of them understood his basic
political situation and acted rationally
in
the light
of
his
understanding
of
it; but most men, not
having read
Leviarhun,
have
not
understood their basic political situation; consequently, much
political history does
not
measure up to the prescriptions
of
his civil philosophy.
I
disagree with
Goldsmith when he writes: ‘History provides
a.
.
.
challenging test
of
Hobbes’s science.
. . .
A
causal
explanation
of
the sequences of events
. .
.
is what Hobbes ought, on his
own
principles,
to
give
us’
(p.
233).
In
an attempt
to
link this with his somewhat vague claims for the importance
of
‘Galilean analytic-synthetic method’ for Hobbes’s civil philosophy, Goldsmith declares that
Hobbes ‘occasionally explains historical sequences
of
events by showing that they exhibit a
synthetical
or
analytical development’ (p.
234).
But this makes no sense.
As
Galileo and Hobbes
understood the terms, it
is
not
events
but scientific investigations which may proceed in
an
‘analytic’
or
‘synthetic’ way: a cannon-ball’s trajectory is neither analytic nor synthetic, but
Galfieo’s
investigations
of
such trajectories may
be
said to have had both analytic and synthetic
tendencies. Goldsmith concludes that Hobbes’s would-be explanatory political science fails
because
it inherits ‘the weakness
of
Galilean science’ (p.
242),
namely, unfalsifiability. Why he
charges Galilean science with unfalsifiability
I
do not know.
Now a word about his method of exposition. Throughout much ofthe book Goldsmithdrops
into the role of Hobbes’s spokesman.
In
this role he does not make assertions about Hobbes’s
REVIEWS
219
ideas, he merely regurgitates them. Hobbes’sname often does not
occur
for several pages running;
however, the footnote references and the quotations woven into the text indicate that what
is
being said
is
attributable to Hobbes and that Goldsmith takes only a secondary responsibility
for it.
This style has serious disadvantages.
An
expositor of someone’s thought may occasionally
wish to do no more than summarize well-known passages whose meaning is not in dispute. But
he will mostly want to do much more than this, for instance, to draw out unnoticed implications,
to propose fresh interpretations of familiar passages, to emphasize certain tendencies in the
man’s thinking, to resolve apparent contradictions in
it,
and
SO
on; and it ought always to be
obvious to the reader which of such things the expositor
is
doing. The trouble with the self-
abnegating expository style to which Goldsmith generally inclines is that it pretends to assimilate
all such varieties of exposition to the fmt; and this
in
turn means that the exposition tends to
be
either boring (when the author is indeed
summarizing
familiar and straightforward passages)
or
suspect (when he is really though unavowedly doing more than this). And there are other dis-
advantages. Reading this book,
I
frequently found myself wondering whether a particular
statement had originated with Hobbes
or
with Goldsmith.
To
give
a
minor example: an exposi-
tion of Hobbes’s notion of identity includes
the
sentence: ‘Heraclitus should have said that
you
can’t step into the same water (not the same river) twice’
(p.
24).
There is no way of telling from
this book whether Hobbes actually wrote something like this
or
whether Goldsmith thought of
it
as
an
apt extension of Hobbes’s idea.
(I
assume it to
be
the latter, since
I
have found no reference
to Heraclitus
in
Hobbes’s
Enghh
Works.)
Another disadvantage of this style is that,
so
long
as
one abides by it, one cannot deal openly with apparent contradictions
in
the original author.
Hobbes-ascxpounded-by-Goldsmith
contains various inconsistencies.
For
instance, it
is
said
on p.
197
that
‘No
human activity
is
ultra
vires
of the sovereign power’, while on p.
214
it is said
that it
is
against the law
of
nature for the sovereign to inquire into men’s thoughts. One wants to
know
whether it is Hobbes
or
Goldsmith who is responsible for such inconsistencies.
There
are
other places where Goldsmith might have been more forthcoming. Although he dm
not, in general, go into the pre-history of Hobbes’s ideas, he does have
a
lengthy section on
contractarian thought before Hobbes (pp.
140-155);
but we are not told the
point
of this:
nothing in his subsequent account
of
Hobbesian covenants is explicitly related to anything in
this historical excursus. And why did Goldsmith choose
as
a
motto for his last chapter
T.
S.
Eliot’s silly remark about
Hobbcs
being ‘one of
thoseextraordinarylittle
upstarts.
.
.’?
Goldsmith sometimes drops his expository role to engage with other Hobbes commentators,
and his book becomes more lively when he does
so.
I
am
in broad agreement with his objections
to Warrender’s interpretation. but less happy about his criticism of Strauss, who
is
said to have
exaggerated the roles
in
Hobbes’s political theory
of
both vanity and fear. Goldsmith claims that
it is not vanity which engenders conflict because ‘vainglorious men do not act’, they only day-
dream (p.
74).
But on the same page it is also said that vainglorious men ‘are inclined to engage
rashly’ (another of those unremarked inconsistencies).
I
did not follow Goldsmith’s criticism
concerning fear: he himselfquotes
(p.
82)
Hobbes’s statement, ‘The passion to be reckoned upon,
is Fear.’
Mr. Goldsmith knows
a
great deal about what Hobbes wrote (see, for instance,
his
account on
pp.
156-61
of the amendments and improvements which Hobbes made to his contractualist
theory of political union after his first statement
of
it in the
Elements
ofLuw).
One wishes that
he had been less modest and reticent about his
own
ideas about Hobbes, that he had dominated
his material more instead of submerging himselfin it.
The
London
School
of
Economics andPolitica1 Science
J.
W.
N.
WATKINS
ADAM
FERGUSON: THE
HISTORY
OF
CIVIL SOCIETY.
Edited by
Adam Ferguson’s long life
(1723-1816)
spans the period of the Scottish Enlightenment and
Ferguson himself became one of the most important figures of the time. Sometime chaplain to
D.
FOR
BE
s.
(Edinburgh Universify Press.
Pp.
xli
+
290.42s.)

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