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Response to Commentaries on Made with Words

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This reply argues five points, in response to the commentaries on my book, “Made with Words”. First, that Hobbes's theory of language may have supported his materialism, as his materialism supported the theory of language. Second, that for Hobbes legal penalties as such do not take from freedom, only legal obligations. Third, that his emphasis on maker's knowledge explains his theory of a priori demonstrable knowledge and, in particular, the importance he gives to definitions. Fourth, that Hobbes's theory of the desire for power suggests, against his own strategy, that people each ought to seek the equality that goes with others not having power over them; this is the next best to the inequality a person would enjoy in having power over others. And fifth, that Hobbes's theory of freedom is inferior in a number of respects to the republican theory of freedom as non-domination that he opposed.

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