Catharine Trotter Cockburn Catharine Trotter Cockburn was an active contributor to early modern philosophical discourse in England, especially regarding morality. Her philosophical production was primarily in defense of John Locke and Samuel Clarke. Nevertheless, her thinking was original and independent in many respects. Cockburn’s moral philosophy combines elements of Locke's epistemology with Clarke’s fitness … Continue reading Cockburn, Catharine Trotter →.
Although excluded from the standard account of the history of philosophy, Catharine Trotter Cockburn avoided the 17th-century bias against female intellectual skills and was an active contributor to the early modern philosophical discourse. In her Defence of Mr. Locke’s Essay, she defended Locke from several criticisms by Thomas Burnet. By analysing three of Burnet’s main arguments, such as the theory of natural conscience, his anti-voluntarism, and his belief in the immateriality of the soul, Trotter showed that he often misinterpreted John (...) Locke’s principles, especially those concerning his moral epistemology. Moreover, beyond her apologetic aim, she also presented her own moral philosophy, arguing that the true ground of morality is the rational and social nature of human beings. Although Trotter was clearly inspired by John Locke, her Defence was not simply a vindication, and she was not his mere handmaiden, for her thought was original and independent in many respects. (shrink)
In February 1676, one of Leibniz's main concerns is with the problem of the seat of the soul and its relationship with the body, to which, in two very short papers, he provides two different solutions: the doctrine of the flos substantiae and the vortex theory. By analyzing the former, I suggest that, despite what other scholars claim, it is far from being an earlier exposition of the notion of monad. I argue that this doctrine is entertained by Leibniz only (...) for a period, but is rejected later on and excluded from the final monadic system. This hypothesis seems to be supported by the shift to the notion of a vortex, which – despite having some evident pantheistic and monistic implications – offers a different solution to the problem of mind-body union, by identifying the soul as the only cement of matter. In this article, by following the progress of such a shift, we discover some fascinating nuances in the young Leibniz's development. (shrink)