This volume contains the selected discourses of four seventeenth-century philosophers, carefully chosen to illustrate the tenets characteristic of the influential movement known as Cambridge Platonism. Fundamental to their beliefs is the statement most clearly voiced by Benjamin Whichcote, their leader by common consent, that the spiritual is not opposed to the rational, nor Grace to nature. Religion is based on reason, even in the presence of 'mystery'. Free will and Grace are not mutually exclusive. The editor's comprehensive introduction delineates (...) the main principles of the CambridgePlatonists, in the light of their heritage. It compares their attitude to contemporary thought, stressing their mistrust both of institutionalised religion and of the rising tide of materialism. The sermons are reprinted from the original texts and fully annotated with comparisons and references to a wide range of works. The editor also includes a useful list for further reading, biographical notes and a comprehensive index. (shrink)
Some characteristics of the CambridgePlatonists -- Benjamin Whichcote (1609-1683) -- John Smith (1616-1652) -- Ralph Cudworth (1617-1685) -- Nathaniel Culverwel (1618?-1651) -- Henry More (1614-1687) -- Peter Sterry (d. 1672).
Prologue.--Some characteristics of the CambridgePlatonists.--Benjamin Whichcote (1609-1683)--John Smith (1616-1652)--Ralph Cudworth (1617-1685)--Nathaniel Culverwel (1618?-1651)--Henry More (1614-1687)--Peter Sterry (d. 1672)--Epilogue.
Draft version of essay. ABSTRACT: Benjamin Whichcote developed a distinctive account of human nature centered on our moral psychology. He believed that this view of human nature, which forms the foundation of “Cambridge Platonism,” showed that the demands of reason and faith are not merely compatible but dynamically supportive of one another. I develop an interpretation of this oft-neglected and widely misunderstood account of human nature and defend its viability against a key objection.
Matthew arnold maintains in the nineteenth century the renaissance school of the cambridgeplatonists. for them, reason and religion are by no means at odds: reason is in fact "the candle of the lord." for matthew arnold in "literature and dogma", christianity will prevail only by being shorn of its supernaturalist elements and set on its true rational ground. ernst cassirer has shown how the cambridgeplatonists bridge the gap between the italian renaissance and the german (...) humanists of the "goethezeit", chiefly through shaftesbury. arnold accordingly finds in herder and goethe the corroboration of his revered countrymen glanvill, whichcote, more and smith. (shrink)
The cambridgeplatonists exemplify the fear that newtonian natural philosophy subverts the status of traditional moral and religious beliefs, Which are strongly supported by the innate idea doctrine since it justifies them independently of the senses and the material universe. Isaac barrow, Friend and teacher of newton, Also employs the doctrine approbatively to support his metaphysics as a science of basic principles that constitute the foundation of natural science. Locke's rejection of the doctrine is analyzed and it is (...) suggested that the platonist's treatment of the active role of the mind in sensation could have been developed in eighteenth century britain if locke's polemic had not been so successful. (shrink)
This collection of essays looks at the distinctively English intellectual, social and political phenomenon of Latitudinarianism, which emerged during the Civil War and Interregnum and came into its own after the Restoration, becoming a virtual orthodoxy after 1688. Dividing into two parts, it first examines the importance of the CambridgePlatonists, who sought to embrace the newest philosophical and scientific movements within Church of England orthodoxy, and then moves into the later seventeenth century, from the Restoration onwards, culminating (...) in essays on the philosopher John Locke. These new contributions establish a firmly interdisciplinary basis for the subject, while collectively gravitating towards the importance of discourse and language as the medium for cultural exchange. The variety of approaches serves to illuminate the cultural indeterminacy of the period, in which inherited models and vocabularies were forced to undergo revisions, coinciding with the formation of many cultural institutions still governing English society. (shrink)
Seventeenth-century Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth, writing just at the time when the concept of sympathy was moving from the realm of magic to that of ethics, argued that God must be understood as having a vital sympathy with suffering human beings. Yet while Cudworth invoked sympathy in an attempt to capture God's intimate relation with creation, in fact, it served as a principle of mediation that tended either to collapse God into the world or to distance God from the (...) world. The broader implications of this problematic conception of divine transcendence can be seen in the secularizing tendencies within sentimentalist ethics and in the work of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Anglican theologians, who were the first to affirm divine passibility. (shrink)
The CambridgePlatonists were a group of religious thinkers who attended and taught at Cambridge from the 1640s until the 1660s. The four most important of them were Benjamin Whichcote, John Smith, Ralph Cudworth, and Henry More. The most prominent sentimentalist moral philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment – Hutcheson, Hume, and Adam Smith – knew of the works of the CambridgePlatonists. But the Scottish sentimentalists typically referred to the CambridgePlatonists only briefly (...) and in passing. The surface of Hutcheson, Hume, and Smith's texts can give the impression that the CambridgePlatonists were fairly distant intellectual relatives of the Scottish sentimentalists – great great-uncles, perhaps, and uncles of a decidedly foreign ilk. But this surface appearance is deceiving. There were deeply significant philosophical connections between the CambridgePlatonists and the Scottish sentimentalists, even if the Scottish sentimentalists themselves did not always make it perfectly explicit. (shrink)
Benjamin Whichcote.--Benjamin Whichcote and Jeremy Taylor.--John Smith.--Ralph Cudworth.--Henry More.--Richard Cumberland.--Nathanael Culverwel.--George Rust.--Edward Stillingfleet.--Additional notes: John Calvin.--Lancelot Andrewes: Excerpt on the candle of the Lord.--William Laud: Excerpt on Scripture.
In the 17th century, there was a lively debate in the intellectual circles with which Locke was familiar, revolving around the question whether the human mind is furnished with innate ideas. Although a few scholars declared that there is no good reason to believe, and good reason not to believe, in the existence of innate ideas, the vast majority took for granted that God, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, has inscribed in human minds innate principles that constitute the foundation (...) of knowledge, as well in practical as in theoretical matters. It was in opposition to the latter group, which included Descartes, leading Anglican divines, and the CambridgePlatonists, that Locke directed his attack upon innate ideas in the first book of the Essay.1 In the minds of those who weighed in on one side or the other, the importance of the controversy related to epistemological, moral, and religious doctrines. At the epistemological level, innatists (or, as I will also call them, nativists) held that all knowledge of the natural and supernatural world available to humans is based on fundamental “speculative” axioms, theoretical principles that neither require nor are capable of proof. These principles, such as the causal principle – that nothing comes from nothing – or the principle of non-contradiction – that nothing can both be and not be at the same time, were taken to be both universal and necessary, and hence impossible to derive from experience. To the mind of an innatist, if these principles are not based on experience and are not (as chimerical ideas were thought to be) constructed out.. (shrink)
George Karamanolis breaks new ground in the study of later ancient philosophy by examining the interplay of the two main schools of thought, Platonism and Aristotelianism, from the first century BC to the third century AD. Arguing against prevailing scholarly assumption, he argues that the Platonists turned to Aristotle only in order to elucidate Plato's doctrines and to reconstruct Plato's philosophy, and that they did not hesitate to criticize Aristotle when judging him to be at odds with Plato. Karamanolis (...) offers much food for thought to ancient philosophers and classicists. (shrink)
Logic and Computation is concerned with techniques for formal theorem-proving, with particular reference to Cambridge LCF (Logic for Computable Functions). Cambridge LCF is a computer program for reasoning about computation. It combines methods of mathematical logic with domain theory, the basis of the denotational approach to specifying the meaning of statements in a programming language. This book consists of two parts. Part I outlines the mathematical preliminaries: elementary logic and domain theory. They are explained at an intuitive level, (...) giving references to more advanced reading. Part II provides enough detail to serve as a reference manual for Cambridge LCF. It will also be a useful guide for implementors of other programs based on the LCF approach. (shrink)
During the 1870s animal morphologists and embryologists at Cambridge University came to dominate British zoology, quickly establishing an international reputation. Earlier accounts of the Cambridge school have portrayed this success as short-lived, and attributed the school's failure to a more general movement within the life sciences away from museum-based description, towards laboratory-based experiment. More recent work has shown that the shift in the life sciences to experimental work was locally contingent and highly varied, often drawing on and incorporating (...) aspects of museum work. Thus in order to understand the more general changes, studies of particular sites are needed. Here I examine the organisation of teaching at Cambridge, both in terms of the spaces in which it was taught and the ways in which teaching and examining were organised, to bring out the complexities of the 'revolt from morphology' and to show in more detail the institutional aspects that intertwined with intellectual change. Francis Maitland Balfour, as head of the Cambridge school, was able to make use of family connections and his own personal wealth to promote morphology. His successor lacked these resources, and one competition within the natural sciences at Cambridge intensified, morphology was unable to compete properly. (shrink)
In the early years of Mendelism, 1900-1910, William Bateson established a productive research group consisting of women and men studying biology at Cambridge. The empirical evidence they provided through investigating the patterns of hereditary in many different species helped confirm the validity of the Mendelian laws of heredity. What has not previously been well recognized is that owing to the lack of sufficient institutional support, the group primarily relied on domestic resources to carry out their work. Members of the (...) group formed a kind of extended family unit, centered on the Batesons' home in Grantchester and the grounds of Newnham College. This case illustrates the continuing role that domestic environments played in supporting scientific research in the early 20th century. (shrink)
In his account of Plato’s ideas in the first book of the “Transcendental Dialectic”, “On the concepts of pure reason”, Kant, in describing how for Plato ideas were “archetypes of things themselves”, adds that these ideas “flowed from the highest reason, through which human reason partakes in them”.1 Later, in the section of the Transcendental Dialectic treating the “ideals of pure reason”, he again attributes to Plato the notion of a “divine mind” within which the “ideas” exist. An “ideal”, Kant (...) says, “was to Plato, an idea in the divine understanding”.2 But as the editors of the Cambridge University Press translation of the Critique of Pure Reason point out, the idea of a divine mind as container of the ideas was not Plato’s and did not originate until the “syncretistic Platonism from the period of the Middle Academy”. From there it “was later adopted by Platonists as diverse as Philo of Alexandria, Plotinus and St Augustine, and became fundamental to later Christian interpretations of Platonism”. (shrink)
European philosophy from the late seventeenth century through most of the eighteenth is broadly conceived as the "Enlightenment," a period of empricist reaction to the great seventeeth century Rationalists. This volume begins with Herbert of Cherbury and the CambridgePlatonists and with Newton and the early English Enlightenment. Locke is a key figure, as a result of his importance both in the development of British and Irish philosophy and because of his seminal influence in the Enlightenment as a (...) whole. British Philosophy and the Age of the Enlightenment includes discussion of the Scott Enlightenment and its influence on the German Aufklaring , and consequently on Kant. The French Enlightenment, which in turn affected the late radical Enlightenment, especially Bentham, is also considered here. This survey brings together clear, authorative chapters from leading experts and provides a scholarly introduction to this period in the history of philosophy. It includes a glossary of technical terms and a chronological table of important political, philosophical, scientific and other cultural events. (shrink)
The work of Spinoza, Descartes and Leibniz is cited in an attempt to develop, both expositorily and critically, the philosophy of Anne Viscountess Conway. Broadly, it is contended that Conway's metaphysics, epistemology and account of the passions not only bear intriguing comparison with the work of the other well-known rationalists, but supersede them in some ways, particularly insofar as the notions of substance and ontological hierarchy are concerned. Citing the commentary of Loptson and Carolyn Merchant, and alluding to other commentary (...) on the CambridgePlatonists whose work was done in tandem with Conway's, it is contended that Conway's conception of the "monad" preceded and influenced Leibniz's, and that her monistic vitalism was in many respects a superior metaphysics to the Cartesian system. It is concluded that we owe Conway more attention and celebration than she has thus far received. (shrink)
Traditionalist and radical orthodox critiques of the Enlightenment assert that the modern discourse on moral self-government constitutes a radical break with the theocentric model of morality which preceded it. Against this view, this paper argues that the conceptions of autonomy emerged from the effort to reconcile commitments within the Christian tradition. Through an analysis of the moral thought of the Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth, this paper contends that distinctively Christian theological concerns concerning moral accountability to God and the character (...) of divine-human moral relationships produced a theory of moral autonomy which anticipates that of Kant. This paper highlights the role of anti-voluntarism in the creation of this moral standpoint, and argues that the resultant moral view is an “internalization” of the voluntarist model of sovereignty. (shrink)
The teaching of philosophy to the young has long been a matter of dispute. In my own University of Oxford we never allow an undergraduate to study philosophy alone, but insist that if he wants to read philosophy he must also read something else, arguing that it is good for the young to be kept sane, and after having been stuffed with nonsense in one tutorial to go and be brought down to earth again in the other; and to learn (...) that in spite of metaphysical doubts about the reality of the past, it is none the less possible to work out the causes of the Peloponnesian War, and that Berkeleyan doubts about the existence of fields leave working physicists profoundly unworried. We look with unenthusiasm at the former Moral Sciences Tripos in The Other Place, where they read nothing but philosophy, and simply go round in circles following one another's entailments, unfertilised and unstimulated by any experience of any other subject. No wonder, we think, that our graduates prove themselves to be such wise men of the world that they are deemed worthy to hold important positions in the Civil Service, the Press, the Benches, and in Parliament. Cambridge sees it differently, and notes that while Oxford has been very good at producing non-philosophers, it has produced no school like that of the CambridgePlatonists, nor any individuals to equal Moore, Russell, or Wittgenstein; and concludes that pure philosophy, unsullied by any extraneous subject, is the proper study for those who wish to philosophize well. (shrink)
Ralph Cudworth (1617-88) was one of the CambridgePlatonists. His major work, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, was completed in 1671, a year after Spinoza published (anonymously) the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus. It was published a few years later, in 1678. Cudworth offers a spirited attack against the materialism and mechanism of Thomas Hobbes. His work is couched as a search for truth among the ancient philosophers, and this paper examines his use of the Presocratics as a tool (...) for discussing the issues of his day. (shrink)