Reason and Freedom: Margaret Cavendish on the order and disorder of nature


Authors
Karen Detlefsen
University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
According to Margaret Cavendish the entire natural world is essentially rational such that everything thinks in some way or another. In this paper, I examine why Cavendish would believe that the natural world is ubiquitously rational, arguing against the usual account, which holds that she does so in order to account for the orderly production of very complex phenomena (e.g. living beings) given the limits of the mechanical philosophy. Rather, I argue, she attributes ubiquitous rationality to the natural world in order to ground a theory of the ubiquitous freedom of nature, which in turn accounts for both the world's orderly and disorderly behavior.
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DOI 10.1515/AGPH.2007.008
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Elisabeth of Bohemia as a Naturalistic Dualist.Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2018 - In Emily Thomas (ed.), Early Modern Women on Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 171-187.
Debating Materialism: Cavendish, Hobbes, and More.Stewart Duncan - 2012 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (4):391-409.
Margaret Cavendish's Epistemology.Kourken Michaelian1 - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (1):31 – 53.

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