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)
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 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)
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)
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.
[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.)].
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)