The sense of smell: Morality and rhetoric in the bramhall-hobbes controversy

Tzachi Zamir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Olfactoric imagery is abundantly employed in the Bramhall-Hobbes controversy. I survey some examples and then turn to the possible significance of this. I argue that by forcing Hobbes into the figurative exchange Bramhall scores points in terms of moving the controversy into ground that is not covered by the limited view of rationality that Hobbes is committed to according to his rhetoric (at least as Bramhall perceives iO. Bramhall clearly wants to move from cool argument to a more affluent rhetorical appeal I argue that choosing such a richer epistemology coheres with Bramhall's deeper anxieties regarding the moral method used in the Leviathan. This essay thus deviates from other form-content analysis of Hobbes, in attempting to examine his rhetoric in practice, under the pressure of controversy. My more general concern is in relating seemingly formal polemical choices to moral concerns.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


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