ISBN : 9780190234805
The prolific Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) published books on natural philosophy as well as stories, plays, poems, orations, allegories, and letters. Her mature philosophical system offered a unique panpsychist theory of Nature as composed of a continuous, non-atomistic, perceiving, knowing matter. In contrast to the dominant philosophical thinking of her day, Cavendish argued that all matter has free will and can choose whether or not to follow Nature's rules. Deborah Boyle posits that her natural philosophy, her medical theories, and her social and political philosophy are all informed by an underlying concern with order, regularity, and rule-following. The Well-Ordered Universe reveals interesting connections among Cavendishs natural philosophy and her views on gender, animals and the environment, and human health, and explains her commitment to monarchy and social hierarchy.
Introduction; Chapter 1: Order and Regularities; Chapter 2: Cavendish's Atomism; Chapter 3: Vitalist Materialism and Infinite Nature; Chapter 4: Creatures; Chapter 5: Human Nature and the Desire for Fame; Chapter 6: Peace and Order in Human Societies; Chapter 7: Gender Roles and the Role of Nature; Chapter 8: Humans and the Natural World; Chapter 9: Health and Order in the Human Body; Conclusion; Bibliography