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Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679

LX:95 | Want of Discretion

The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or blame; which verbal discourse cannot do farther than the judgment shall approve of the time, place, and persons. An anatomist or a physician may speak or write his judgment of unclean things, because it is not to please, but profit; but for another man to write his extravagant and pleasant fancies of the same is as if a man, from being tumbled into the dirt, should come and present himself before good company. And it is the want of discretion that makes the difference. Again, in professed remissness of mind and familiar company, a man may play with the sounds and equivocal significations of words; and that many times with encounters of extraordinary fancy; but in a sermon, or in public, or before persons unknown, or whom we ought to reverence, there is no jingling of words that will not be accounted folly; and the difference is only in the want of discretion. So that where wit is wanting, it is not fancy that is wanting, but discretion. Judgment therefore without fancy is wit, but fancy without judgment, not. (39-40)


Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan.  Ed. Edwin Curley.  Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1994.  

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LX:94 | That We Call Deliberation

When in the mind of man appetites and aversions, hopes and fears, concerning one and the same thing arise alternately, and diverse good and evil consequences of the doing or omitting the thing propounded come successively into our thoughts, so that sometimes we have an appetite to it, sometimes an aversion from it, sometimes hope to be able to do it, sometimes despair or fear to attempt it, the whole sum of desires, aversions, hopes and fears, continued till the thing be either done or thought impossible, is that we call Deliberation. (33)


Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan.  Ed. Edwin Curley.  Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1994.  


My decision to add this entry was based on, in part, a consideration of the difference between what is called deliberation and what is called thinking:

Thinking is not so much an act as a way of living or dwelling - as we in America would put it, a way of life.  It is a remembering who we are as human beings and where we belong.  It is a gathering and focusing of our whole selves on what lies before us and taking to heart and mind these particular things before us in order to discover in them their essential nature and truth.i

If "the most thought-provoking thing about our thought-provoking age" is "that we are still not thinking," it has always been thus since the early Greeks.  As he [Heidegger] makes clear in this volume [What Is Called Thinking], Heidegger is neither pessimistic nor optimistic about the times in which we live.  It is only that the nature of our technological age requires thinking more than earlier ages, for modern man conceives himself prepared to take dominion over the earth and his capacities for good and ill are vastly augmented.ii

While related, deliberation and thinking are not the same nor do they necessarily occur simultaneously or, for that matter, at all. 

More about learning how to think at Aretaic.

Leviathan is one of my favorite reads and, for what it's worth, I prefer the Edwin Curly edition.  His introduction is thorough and insightful as are his notes found throughout the text.  If you want to read Leviathan, this edition is worth considering.  Plus the size is nice at 8.5 x 5.5 inches - feels good in the hand, familiar.

i Heidegger, Martin. What Is Called Thinking. Trans. J. Glenn Gray.  Harper Perennial, 2004. xi.

ii ibid. ix.