Michael B. Gill
University of Arizona
Many people today glorify wild nature. This attitude is diametrically opposed to the denigration of wild nature that was common in the seventeenth century. One of the most significant initiators of the modern revaluation of nature was Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury. I elucidate here Shaftesbury’s pivotal view of nature. I show how that view emerged as Shaftesbury’s solution to a problem he took to be of the deepest philosophical and personal importance: the problem of how worship of God can be both transportingly emotional and entirely rational. In section 1 I sketch the denigration of wild nature in two of Shaftesbury’s predecessors: Burnet and Locke. I next turn to Shaftesbury’s problem, describing in section 2 the love of God he aspired to and in section 3 his commitment to rational religion. I then explain Shaftesbury’s solution, describing in section 4 his view of beauty in general and in section 5 his view of the beauty of nature.
Keywords Burnet   Locke   Nature   Religion   Wilderness  Burnet  Locke  Nature  Religion  Shaftesbury  Shaftesbury  Wilderness
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DOI 10.32881/jomp.113
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References found in this work BETA

Love of Humanity in Shaftesbury’s Moralists.Michael B. Gill - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (6):1117-1135.
Shaftesbury's Illustrations of Characteristics.Felix Paknadel - 1974 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 37:290-312.
"Rational Religion" in Restoration England.John Spurr - 1988 - Journal of the History of Ideas 49 (4):563.
The Religious Rationalism of Benjamin Whichcote.Michael B. Gill - 1999 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (2):271-300.

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Love of Humanity in Shaftesbury’s Moralists.Michael B. Gill - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (6):1117-1135.
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