Cudworth, Ralph
(1617–1688)
The foremost Cambridge Platonist, whose major works were The True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678), and A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality (published posthumously, 1731). The former, although massive, is only the first third of a projected larger work. Cudworth was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 1645, as a supporter of the Puritans, he was made Master of Clare College, Cambridge, which he left after a crotchety reign in 1650, only to return to Cambridge as Master of Christ's College in 1654. The major aim of Cudworth's metaphysical work was to refute both materialism and hylozoism . He held that the mind cannot be the merely passive recipient of atomic impacts, and its independent reality is certified by its agency in the world. Cudworth developed the importance of agency in nature with an Aristotelian doctrine of ‘plastic natures’ or inner directive principles, which guide the formation of living things, and themselves have purposes, and operate even upon the soul, but are not conscious. This doctrine attracted a good deal of discussion, by Bayle (who found it atheistic in tendency), by Leibniz, and in the Encyclopédie .
Cudworth believed that ethics is given in eternal and immutable truths, apprehended by reason. However, in his moral psychology the emphasis is not upon the kind of conformity with reason later associated with Kant, but upon the question of whether we act out of love or out of self-interest. Cudworth's daughter was Damaris, Lady Masham.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • CUDWORTH, RALPH° — (1617–1688), English Platonist. Cudworth was professor of Hebrew at Cambridge from 1645. His commentary on Daniel survives in manuscript form (British Museum, Ms. Add. 4986–87), and he is known to have been interested in the translation of the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Cudworth, Ralph — born 1617, Aler, Somerset, Eng. died June 26, 1688, Cambridge English theologian and philosopher. Reared as a Puritan, he eventually adopted Nonconformist views such as the notion that church government and religious practice should be individual …   Universalium

  • Cudworth, Ralph — See Herbert of Cherbury (Lord) and the Cambridge Platonists …   History of philosophy

  • Cudworth, Ralph — ► (1617 88) Filósofo inglés. Es célebre por su Sistema intelectual del Universo, refutación de Hobbes. * * * (1617, Aler, Somerset, Inglaterra–26 jun. 1688, Cambridge). Teólogo y filósofo inglés. Educado como puritano que más tarde adoptó… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • CUDWORTH, RALPH —    an eminent English divine and philosopher, born in Somerset; his chief work, a vast and discursive one, and to which he owes his fame, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, in which he teaches a philosophy of the Platonic type, which… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Cudworth, Ralph — (1617 1688)    Divine and philosopher, b. at Aller, Somerset, and ed. at Camb., where, after being a tutor, he became Master of Clare Hall 1645, Prof. of Hebrew (1645 88), and Master of Christ s Coll., 1654. His great work is The True… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Cudworth — Cudworth, Ralph …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Cudworth — Cudworth, Ralph …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ralph Cudworth — (1617 – 26 June 1688) was an English philosopher, the leader of the Cambridge Platonists. Contents 1 Life …   Wikipedia

  • Cudworth, Saskatchewan — Cudworth Cudworth Heritage Museum Former CN station Nickname(s): The Hub of the Cities …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”