Sarah Hutton presents a rich historical study of one of the most fertile periods in philosophy. It was in the seventeenth century that Britain first produced philosophers of international stature. Bacon, Hobbes, and Locke, and many other thinkers are shown in their intellectual, social, political, and religious context.
This 2004 book was the first intellectual biography of one of the very first English women philosophers. At a time when very few women received more than basic education, Lady Anne Conway wrote an original treatise of philosophy, her Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy, which challenged the major philosophers of her day - Descartes, Hobbes and Spinoza. Sarah Hutton's study places Anne Conway in her historical and philosophical context, by reconstructing her social and intellectual milieu. She traces (...) her intellectual development in relation to friends and associates such as Henry More, Sir John Finch, F. M. van Helmont, Robert Boyle and George Keith. And she documents Conway's debt to Cambridge Platonism and her interest in religion - an interest which extended beyond Christian orthodoxy to Quakerism, Judaism and Islam. Her book offers an insight into both the personal life of a very private woman, and the richness of seventeenth-century intellectual culture. (shrink)
Ralph Cudworth’s theory of mind was the most fully developed philosophical psychology among the Cambridge Platonists. Like his seventeenth-century contemporaries, Cudworth discussed mental powers in terms of soul rather than mind and considered the function of the soul to be not merely intellectual, but vital and moral. Cudworth conceived the soul as a single self-determining unit which combined many powers. He developed this against a philosophical agenda set by Descartes and Hobbes. But he turned to ancient philosophy, especially the philosophy (...) of Plotinus, to develop a psychology which is distinguished by the attention he gives to both conscious and unconscious states, and to the powers which enable it to reflect on itself, to co-ordinate its activities and direct them to good ends. I argue that in so doing, Cudworth sought to elaborate a theory of mind which accounted for observable experience of mental operations. My paper outlines the complexities of Cudworth’s taxonomy of mental powers, focusing on three key powers which Cudworth developed through his reading of Plotinus: energy, self-power, and sympathy. (shrink)
International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées, Vol. 196. -/- Introduction, S. Hutton; Nicholas of Cusa : Platonism at the Dawn of Modernity, D. Moran; At Variance: Marsilio Ficino Platonism And Heresy, M.J.B. Allen; Going Naked into the Shrine:Herbert, Plotinus and the Consructive Metaphor, S.R.L.Clark; Commenius, Light Metaphysics and Educational Reform, J. Rohls ; Robert Fludd’s Kabbalistic Cosmos, W. Schmidt-Biggeman; Reconciling Theory and Fact:The Problem of ‘Other Faiths’ in Lord Herbert and the Cambridge Platonists, D. (...) Pailin; Trinity, Community and Love: Cudworth’s Platonism and the Idea of God, L. Armour; Chaos and Order in Cudworth’s Thought, J-L. Breteau; Cudworth, Prior and Passmore on the Autonomy of Ethics, R. Attfield; Substituting Aristotle: Platonic Themes In Dutch Cartesianism, H. van Ruler; Soul, Body, And World: Plato’s Timaeus And Descartes’ Meditations, C. Wilson ; Locke, Plato and Platonism, G.A.J. Rogers; Reflections on Locke’s Platonism, V. Nuovo; The Platonism at the Core of Leibniz’s Philosophy, C. Mercer; Leibniz and Berkeley: Platonic Metaphysics and ‘The Mechanical Philosophy’, S. Brown; Which Platonism for which Modernity? A Note on Shaftesbury’s Socratic Sea-Cards, L. Jaffro; Platonism, Aesthetics and the Sublime at the Origins Of Modernity, D. Hedley. (shrink)
Princess Elisabeth and Anne Conway were contemporaries whose lives present many striking parallels. From their early interest in Descartes’ philosophy to their encounter with Van Helmont and the Quakers in their maturity, both were brought into contact with the same sets of ideas and forms of spirituality at similar points in their lives. Despite their common interest in philosophy, and their many mutual acquaintances, it is difficult to ascertain what either knew about the other, and whether either knew anything about (...) the other’s philosophy. This paper reviews the evidence for connections between them and their knowledge of one another. After outlining the parallels in their personal circumstances and the sources for their knowledge of each other, I discuss key intermediaries: Henry More, the Hartlib Circle, Francis Mercury van Helmont and the Quaker leaders Robert Barclay and George Keith. Although they were certainly aware of one another, the answer to the question of whether there was any philosophical inter-change between them remains especially elusive. (shrink)
This paper discusses the contribution of Madame Du Châtelet to the reception of Newtonianism in France prior to her translation of Newton’s Principia. It focuses on her Institutions de physique, a work normally considered for its contribution to the reception of Leibniz in France. By comparing the different editions of the Institutions, I argue that her interest in Newton antedated her interest in Leibniz, and that she did not see Leibniz’s metaphysics as incompatible with Newtonian science. Her Newtonianism can be (...) seen to be in the course of development between 1738 and 1742 and it was shaped by contemporary French debates and the achievement of French Newtonians like Maupertuis in confirming his theories. Her Institutions therefore is linked to the same drive to disseminate Newtonianism undertaken by popularisations such as Voltaire’s Elements de la philosophie de Newton and Algarotti’s Newtonianismo per le dame.Author Keywords: Emilie du Châtelet; Isaac Newton; Voltaire; French reception of Newtonianism. (shrink)
The issue which I wish to address in this paper is the widespread tendency in Anglophone philosophy to insist on a separation between the history of philosophy and the history of ideas or intellectual history. This separation reflects an anxiety on the part of philosophers lest the special character of philosophy will be dissolved into something else in the hands of historians. And it is borne of a fundamental tension between those who think of philosophy's past as a source of (...) ideas and arguments of interest to the present, and those who hold that the philosophy of the past should be studied on its own terms, in relation to its immediate context, without reference to the present. The challenge, then, is to re-historicise the history of philosophy, and to keep the philosophers onside. (shrink)
This paper argues that the Cambridge Platonists had stronger philosophical links to Scottish moral philosophy than the received history allows. Building on the work of Michael Gill who has demonstrated links between ethical thought of More, Cudworth and Smith and moral sentimentalism, I outline some links between the Cambridge Platonists and Scottish thinkers in both the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century. I then discuss Hume's knowledge of Cudworth, in Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, The (...) Natural History of Religion and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. (shrink)
This paper offers a preliminary enquiry into a largely neglected topic: the concept of time in the post-medieval, pre-Newtonian era. Although Aristotle's theory of time was predominant in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, it was, in this period, subjected to the most serious attack since that by the ancient Neoplatonists. In particular, in the work of Bernadino Telesio, Giordano Bruno and Francesco Patrizi we have concerted attempts to reconsider Aristotle's definition of time. Although the approach of each is different, (...) all three endeavour to dissociate time from movement and to conceive it as part of an independent duration. They were probably inspired by Neoplatonism, and they offer important antecedents to Newton's theory of absolute time. (shrink)
My paper explores the extent to which More’s ‘Spirit of Nature’ and Cudworth’s ‘Plastic Nature’ incorporated the functions of the Aristotelian vegetable soul, and how far, if at all, each was indebted to Aristotle. I argue that, although, on the matter of vegetable life there is some overlap between the functions of the Aristotelian vegetative soul and those ascribed by Cudworth to Plastic Nature and More to the Spirit of Nature, Cudworth and More were not simply reviving Aristotle in new (...) dress. Both certainly drew on Aristotle when formulating their hypotheses, but these have a much broader range of functions than the Aristotelian vegetative soul. Even among those functions which concern the basics of organic life, both hypotheses have affinities with other the well-developed medico-physiological traditions of the late Renaissance. And, although this type of formative spirit is often compared to the Platonic World Soul, both hypotheses are indebted as much, if not more to Stoicism. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive overview of the influence of Platonism on the English literary tradition, showing how English writers, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Yeats, Pound and Iris Murdoch, used Platonic themes and images within their own imaginative work.
This book showcases Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine, one of the foremost female minds of the 17th century. Best known today for her important correspondence with the philosopher René Descartes, Elisabeth was famous in her own time for her learning, philosophical acumen, and mathematical brilliance. She was also well-connected in the seventeenth-century intellectual circles. Elisabeth’s status as a woman philosopher is emblematic of both the possibilities and limitations of women's participation in the republic of letters and of their subsequent fate (...) in history. Few sources containing her own views survive, and until recently there has been no work on Elisabeth as a thinker in her own right. This volume brings together an international team of scholars to discuss her work from a cross-disciplinary perspective on the occasion of her fourth centenary. It is the first collection of essays to examine a range of her interests and to discuss them in relation to her historical context. The studies presented here discuss her educational background, her friendships and contacts, her interest in politics, religion, and astronomy, as well as her views on politics, her moral philosophy and her engagement with Cartesianism. The volume will appeal to historians of philosophy, historians of political thought, philosophers, feminists and seventeenth-century historians. (shrink)
Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine was famous in her own time for her learning, her philosophical acumen and her mathematical brilliance. Her wide-ranging interests extended to religion, science, politics and philosophy, and she was well-connected with seventeenth-century intellectual circles. But she has since suffered the fate of so many brilliant women of the past.
Ralph Cudworth deserves recognition as one of the most important English seventeenth-century philosophers after Hobbes and Locke. In opposition to Hobbes, Cudworth proposes an innatist theory of knowledge which may be contrasted with the empirical position of his younger contemporary Locke, and in moral philosophy he anticipates the ethical rationalists of the eighteenth century. A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality is his most important work, and this volume makes it available, together with his shorter Treatise of Freewill, with a (...) historical introduction, a chronology of his life, and an essay on further reading. (shrink)
Sarah Hutton - Girolamo Cardano. Le opere, le fonti, la vita, and: The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550-1650 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:2 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.2 261-263 Book Review Girolamo Cardano. Le opere, le fonti, la vita The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550-1650 Marialuisa Baldi and Guido Canziani. Girolamo Cardano. Le opere, le fonti, la vita. Milan: Francoangeli, 1999. Pp. 589. L. 68,000. William J. Bouwsma. The Waning of the Renaissance, 1550-1650. New Haven: (...) Yale University Press, 2001. Pp. xi + 288. Cloth, $29.95. The two books under review represent very different approaches to Renaissance philosophy. The collection edited by Marialuisa Baldi and Guido Canziani brings together an international team of twenty-two scholars to scrutinize in close detail a single figure from among the constellation of inventive Italians whose intellectual energies fuelled the Renaissance. The Waning of the Renaissance is a single-viewpoint survey of a European-wide canvas that covers England and France as well as Italy. The subject of Girolamo Cardano is a forgotten philosopher normally only remembered, if at all, by oxymoronic recognition of his brilliance as a mathematician and fame as an astrologer. William J. Bouwsma's book is a broad overview of the mainstream Renaissance. The names that fill his pages are, in the main, the.. (shrink)
The study of female philosophers of the past has come a long way in the last two decades. Until relatively recently, special pleading was required in order to make the case that there were any women philosophers and that they deserved to be taken seriously. Since then the picture has changed radically. Not only are the philosophical credentials of women philosophers better known, but many more women have been recognized as philosophers. It is increasingly taken for granted that philosophers today (...) should pay attention to women’s contributions to their discipline. Many other developments in both feminist philosophy and the history of philosophy have helped change the picture, among them a positive reappraisal... (shrink)
BOOK REVIEWS 463 awareness is included in every thought without need for a second thought of the first. Awareness of the object of thought could be connected with the volition, or judgment, that the thought represents some particular thing. Nadler's article deals with a related issue by concentrating on Malebranche, propos- ing that he is a kind of "direct realist." This is, of course, quite contrary to the spirit of most interpretations of Malebranche. The relevance of Nadler's thesis in this (...) context is that it makes it harder to characterize clearly what philosophical points might have been at issue between Arnauld and Malebranche aside from the dispute over the ontological status of ideas. There is, finally, a second article by Kremer on "Grace and Free Will in Arnauld." Arnauld himself attached much more importance to his work in theology than his better remembered work in philosophy. Kremer's article, however, shows that Arnauld sometimes intertwined philosophical and theological concerns such that it is not neces- sary to be a theologian to appreciate the issues. If the current surge of interest in Arnauld's distinctive, original contributions to philosophy stimulates further work, much of it will probably engage his own overarching theological concerns. ALAN NELSON University of California, Irvine Margaret Atherton, editor. Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1994. Pp. ix + 166. Cloth, $29.95... (shrink)
[John Rogers retired as Editor of the BJHP in March 2011. We are delighted to publish this specially commissioned appreciation of John's work by Sarah Hutton, who has been on the Editorial Board since the founding of the journal in 1993 and who was Chair of the British Society for the History of Philosophy from 1998 to 2004. (Ed.)].
In post-Wollstonecraft terminology, the rights of woman, like the rights of man, are taken to include freedoms of many kinds – political, religious, social – freedoms enshrined in the French revolutionary generalisation, la liberté. The strength of liberty’s modern political connotations obscures the fact that, in earlier times, the term was freighted with connotations which were deemed socially and publicly unacceptable for womankind. The political claim, that women are entitled to the same freedoms as men, was both subversive of an (...) order where women occupy lower status than men, and it was also insubordinate – to speak out on any issue was, for a woman, to speak out of turn, to be insolent, if not impudent. The first women to proclaim those freedoms as rights broke the bounds not just of social order, but of social convention. My paper examines some of the ways in which pre- Wollstonecraft feminists conceived of ‘liberty’, particularly its political sense, and how their understanding of it fits with their feminism. I shall do so by discussing two figures who come from opposite poles of the political spectrum: Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, who was a staunch monarchist, and Catharine Macaulay, whose political preference was republican. In this essay, I point out some of the ways in which the ‘feminism’ of each is complicated by the rather different assumptions with which they operated. (shrink)