Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):83-97 (2020)

Getty Lustila
Northeastern University
This paper examines Catharine Trotter Cockburn’s moral philosophy, focusing on her accounts of virtuous conduct, conscience, obligation, and moral character. I argue that Cockburn’s account of virtue has two interlocking parts: a view of what virtue requires of us, and a view of how we come to see this requirement as authoritative. I then argue that while the two parts are ultimately in tension with one another, the tension is instructive. I use Cockburn’s encounter with Shaftesbury’s writings to help bring out this tension in her thought. I conclude that Cockburn’s work marks a bridge in modern moral philosophy from seventeenth-century natural law theory to the naturalism of the eighteenth century— that of Gay, Hume, and Bentham.
Keywords Catharine Trotter Cockburn  Virtue  History of Ethics  John Locke  Early Modern Philosophy
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DOI 10.1017/can.2019.9
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References found in this work BETA

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.H. R. Smart - 1925 - Philosophical Review 34 (4):413.
Hedonism and Natural Law in Locke's Moral Philosophy.Elliot Rossiter - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (2):203-225.

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Citations of this work BETA

Catharine Trotter Cockburn on the Virtue of Atheists.Jacqueline Broad - 2021 - Intellectual History Review 31 (1):111-128.

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Similar books and articles

Cockburn, Catharine Trotter.Emilio Maria De Tommaso - 2018 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Catharine Trotter Cockburn.Patricia Sheridan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


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