The Cambridge Philosophers – including early modern women’s writings.

I’ve just received a message on this project from Philos-l:


The work of the Cambridge Platonists has been gravely neglected due to a combination of scholarly misapprehensions, a lack of accessible textbooks, and good critical editions of their major works. The central aim of this interdisciplinary project is to begin addressing this neglect by bringing together the major established UK and overseas researchers as well as early career academics who work on, or have a close interest in, Cambridge Platonism. This will advance research on this pivotal intellectual movement. These discussions will take place at a series of workshops at Clare College, Cambridge. Contributors will be drawn from the disciplines of Philosophy, Theology/Religious Studies, and English Literature. Topics covered by the project will include, but not be limited to, the formation and sources of Cambridge Platonism, their key philosophical and religious ideas, and their reception in the areas of (i) aesthetics; (ii) ethics; (iii) metaphysics (iv) early-modern women’s writing; (v) secularisation and the origins of atheism.

The project is spearheaded by Douglas Hedley (PI) and Sarah Hutton (Co-PI), and it is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The women writers associated with the Cambridge Platonists were (as far as I know) Damaris Cudworth Masham, Anne Conway, Mary Astell, and  Catherine Trotter Cockburn. Of these, only Anne Conway has had her texts published in an accessible format: in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy series.

One of the two people heading the group, Sarah Hutton, is known for her work on early modern women writers, especially Anne Conway. Hopefully, her commitment to working on women philosophers, and publishing their work will act on the project, and we’ll see more   books by the women Cambridge Platonists in the not-too-distant future.

I’m not sure how much the actual conference reflects the intention of discussing works by women, but that’s mostly because I’m not familiar enough with this period to tell just by looking at the titles.

Here it is:

Cambridge Platonism: Key Philosophical and Religious Ideas.
To be held at Clare College, University of Cambridge on April 19-20th. The program will run as follows:

DAY ONE: Friday 19 April 1.00pm – 6.00pm

2.00 Justin Smith “Does Hylozoism Lead to the Theory of Monads?”

2.45 Stephen Gersh and Douglas Hedley “Cambridge Platonism and Neoplatonisms: from Florence to Cambridge?”

3.15 Emily Thomas “Space, Time and Cambridge Platonism”

4.05 Visit to Queens’ College (John Smith’s library)

5.05 James Bryson “Oxford Platonism and the Problem of Atheism in 17th century English Platonism”

5.35 Open Session: “Cambridge Platonism and 17th Century Philosophy” (led by Sarah Hutton)

DAY TWO: Saturday 20 April 9.30am – 6.00 pm

9.30 Tom Stoneham “Arthur Collier: An Anomaly”

10.00 Charles Taliaferro “The View from Cambridge Platonism; How Philosophy of Mind and Other Sub-Fields of Philosophy Look From a Cambridge Platonist Perspective”

11.05 Mogens Laerke “Ardor and Contempt: Some Remarks on Leibniz and More”

11.35 Lesley-Anne Dyer “Using the City of God as a Latin Source: A Preliminary Comparison of the Christian Platonism of Peter Abelard and Ralph Cudworth”

12.05 Martine Pécharman “Cuworth on Self-consciousness”

2.00 Stephen Clark “Mistaken Contrasts in Patrides and Elsewhere”

2.45 Jasper Reid “The Cambridge Platonists and the Consent of Nations”

3.35 Dan Garber “More on Ghosts, Witches, and the Experimental Philosophy.”

4.45 Visit to Christ’s and Emmanuel College

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