By Patricia Springborg
Thinker, theologian, academic theorist, feminist, and political pamphleteer, Mary Astell used to be an immense determine within the background of rules of the early smooth interval in lots of contexts. (She contributed to the British debate over toleration and dissent from the 1690s, which inaugurated the fashionable secular state.) Patricia Springborg's examine recovers the ancient and philosophical contexts of her idea. She demonstrates that Astell used to be now not on my own in her perspectives yet, relatively, a part of a cohort of early glossy girls philosophers grappling with the existential difficulties of a brand new age.
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Extra resources for Mary Astell: Theorist of Freedom from Domination
She immediately introduced herself to Anglican circles by presenting a book of juvenile religious poems to the former Archbishop of Canterbury and subsequent nonjuror William Sancroft, who may have provided her financial support. She entered a circle of like-minded intellectual women, high church prelates and their wives, eventually settling in the house of Lady Catherine Jones,4 to whom two of her works were dedicated. She lived in Chelsea, where she eventually owned a house, dying in 1731 of breast cancer.
38 Taylor not only accepts my claim that the critique of Locke was among Astell’s primary targets, but refines it with respect to Astell’s most weighty work, The Christian Religion. And Ellenzweig may well be right that Astell’s temporary departure from Malebranchean occasionalism in the last of her Letters Concerning the Love of God could have been motivated by worries that this doctrine of Norris and Malebranche, which made it impossible to distinguish ontologically between the divine and profane, could be construed as a species of Spinozism or pantheism and therefore heretical.
39 But no book-length treatment of Astell has been produced in any of these fields, and Ruth Perry’s excellent biography still stands as the most substantial work on Astell that we have – a gap this book tries to fill. 40 The divide between Cartesians and materialists was as profound in philosophy as the divide between Tories and Whigs in politics, creating similar and sometimes overlapping polarizations. So, for instance, if English materialists from the late Hobbes on tended to be Whiggish, the Cartesians tended to be Tory.