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Daniel Whiting, University of Southampton


Lecture Title
Margaret Cavendish on Virtue and Its Value


Historians of philosophy and of literature have explored in detail Margaret Cavendish's first-order moral and political views concerning such topics as the treatment of animals, the education of women, and the institution of marriage. To date, however, there has been no detailed or sustained discussion of Cavendish's moral theory. My aim in this paper is to show that Cavendish has such a theory—specifically, a theory of the nature and value of virtue—​and to show that it is continuous with her broader commitments in metaphysics and philosophy of mind. In doing so, I will show that Cavendish's position is systematic, remains stable throughout her career, and is distinctive in relation to other, more familiar theories of the early modern era, for example, those of Hobbes and of the Cambridge Platonists.

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