Margaret Cavendish: Observations upon Experimental by Margaret Cavendish, Eileen O'Neill

By Margaret Cavendish, Eileen O'Neill

Margaret Cavendish's Observations upon Experimental Philosophy holds a special place in early sleek philosophy. Cavendish rejects the image of nature as a grand computer that was once propounded through Hobbes and Descartes; she additionally rejects the choice perspectives of nature that make connection with immaterial spirits. as an alternative she develops an unique process of organicist materialism, and attracts at the doctrines of historic Stoicism to assault the tenets of seventeenth-century mechanical philosophy. Her treatise is a record of significant significance within the heritage of women's contributions to philosophy and technology.

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Useful historical information can also be found in A. S. Turberville, A History of Welbeck Abbey and Its Owners, Volume One: – (London: Faber and Faber Limited, ). There is a long tradition in Hobbes scholarship of exploring the connection between his natural philosophy and his political views; John Rogers, in The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, and Politics in the Age of Milton (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, ), does the same for Cavendish. ,’’ Centaurus ,  (): –; and Christoph Meinel, ‘‘Early Seventeenth-Century Atomism: Theory, Epistemology, and the Insufficiency of Experiment,’’ Isis ,  (): –.

Cavendish, the literary figure, was introduced to twentieth-century readers by Henry Ten Eyck Perry, The First Duchess of Newcastle and Her Husband As Figures in Literary History (Boston/London: Ginn and Company, ), which critically examines her corpus, and outlines its critical reception; and by Virginia Woolf, ‘‘The Duchess of Newcastle,’’ in The Common Reader (London: Published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, ). For a treatment of Cavendish’s natural philosophy from a feminist perspective on literary history and criticism, see Sylvia Bowerbank, xlii Further reading ‘‘The Spider’s Delight: Margaret Cavendish and the ‘Female’ Imagination,’’ English Literary Renaissance  (): –; repr.

EW. , ) and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Monadologie [Monadology], § . ²⁵ Walter Charleton, in Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltoniana, or a Fabrick of Science Natural Upon the Hypothesis of Atoms . . (London, ), discusses an argument, which he attributes to Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. c.  ), according to which ‘‘a continual efflux of substance must minorate the quantity of the most solid visible’’ (p. ). One of Charleton’s responses is that while bodies are continually losing minute parts of themselves in acts of natural change, these same bodies are also continual recipients of substantial effluvia from other agents of change.

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