Authors
Jacqueline Broad
Monash University
Abstract
Many scholars point to the close association between early modern science and the rise of rational arguments in favour of the existence of witches. For some commentators, it is a poor reflection on science that its methods so easily lent themselves to the unjust persecution of innocent men and women. In this paper, I examine a debate about witches between a woman philosopher, Margaret Cavendish , and a fellow of the Royal Society, Joseph Glanvill . I argue that Cavendish is the voice of reason in this exchange—not because she supports the modern-day view that witches do not exist, but because she shows that Glanvill’s arguments about witches betray his own scientific principles. Cavendish’s responses to Glanvill suggest that, when applied consistently, the principles of early modern science could in fact promote a healthy scepticism toward the existence of witches.Keywords: Margaret Cavendish; Joseph Glanvill; Witches; Inference to the best explanation; Anti-dogmatism; Religion.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2007.06.002
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References found in this work BETA

The Inference to the Best Explanation.Gilbert H. Harman - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):88-95.
Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy.Margaret Cavendish & Eileen O'neill - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (214):175-177.
The Philosophical Innovations of Margaret Cavendish.Susan James - 1999 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 7 (2):219 – 244.

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Citations of this work BETA

Debating Materialism: Cavendish, Hobbes, and More.Stewart Duncan - 2012 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (4):391-409.
Margaret Lucas Cavendish.David Cunning - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is Margaret Cavendish Worthy of Study Today?Jacqueline Broad - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (3):457-461.

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Similar books and articles

Poisonous Vapours: Joseph Glanvill's Science of Witchcraft.Julie A. Davies - 2012 - Intellectual History Review 22 (2):163-179.
Cavendish, Margaret.Eugene Marshall - 2014 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is Margaret Cavendish Worthy of Study Today?Jacqueline Broad - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (3):457-461.

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