Title page for ETD etd-10132010-020424
|Type of Document
||Lynch, William T.
||Politics in Hobbes' mechanics :a case study in the sociology of scientific knowledge
||Master of Science
||Science and Technology Studies
|Downey, Gary L.
|Fuhrman, Ellsworth R.
|Paterson, Robert A.
|Date of Defense
A case study in the sociology of scientific knowledge is
presented involving an examination of the development of
Thomas Hobbes' mechanics in light of Hobbes' political views
and the political context. Hobbes provides a good subject
for research in the sociology of scientific knowledge for at
least two reasons. First, Hobbes is a good case for
examining the interaction between science and the broader
political context. Given the controversial nature of Hobbes'
political writings (supposedly grounded in his mechanics and
aimed at resolving contemporary political problems), the
possibility that political considerations entered into the
production and reception of Hobbes' mechanics deserves
attention. Second, applying new perspectives in the
sociology of scientific knowledge can be shown to provide an
unexpected payoff in helping resolve persistent disputes
among intellectual and political historians regarding the
interpretation of Hobbes' work. Specifically, a number of
confusions about the relationship between Hobbes' political
philosophy and his mechanical philosophy can be cleared up by
recognizing that his political views may have influenced his
mechanics. The perspective of a general sociology of
scientific knowledge provides an appropriate tool for
overcoming the reluctance of many political and intellectual
historians to examine the social roots of a scientific
theory. Hobbes' goal of providing a political philosophy to
resolve political turmoil, within the context of Hobbes'
participation in discussions on mechanics and mechanical
philosophy , resulted in the particular mechanical approach
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