Mary Shepherd's Essays on the Perception of an External Universe

ISBN : 9780190854270

Antonia Lolordo
232 ページ
156 x 235 mm

This is the first modern edition of the works of Lady Mary Shepherd, one of the most important women philosophers of the early modern period. Shepherd has been widely neglected in the history of philosophy, but her work engaged with the dominant philosophers of the time - among them Hume, Berkeley, and Reid. In particular, her 1827 volume Essays on the Perception of an External Universe outlines a theory of causation, perception, and knowledge which Shepherd presents as an alternative to what she sees as the mistaken views of Berkeley and Hume. What she ultimately presents is an original and systematic metaphysics and epistemology.

Shepherd's Essays consists of two parts. The first is a theory of perception and knowledge of the external world, which is designed to rebut idealism and skepticism about the external world and show that our ordinary beliefs are based on reason. The second is a collection of essays on topics in metaphysics and epistemology, including the immateriality and eternity of the mind, the relationship between mind and body, the possibility of miracles, the association of ideas, the relationship between physical and mathematical reasoning, and the epistemology of testimony.

Antonia LoLordo's edition of Shepherd's Essays includes scholarly notes throughout the text that provide historical and philosophical context and expand on the major concepts of Shepherd's system. Her extensive introduction to Shepherd's life and works surveys some of the major points of Shepherd's system, points out directions for future research, and offers guidance for readers planning to teach her work in their courses. This volume is an invaluable primary resource for scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates interested in metaphysics, epistemology, and early modern philosophy.


Short Titles
Note on the Text
Essays on the Perception of an External Universe and Other Subjects connected with the Doctrine of Causation
Part I-Essay on the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy
Introductory Chapter
Chapter I. On Continuous Existence
Chapter II. On External Existence
Chapter III. On Independent Existence
Chapter IV. Objection Arising to the Foregoing Doctrines from the Phenomena of Dreams, Further Considered and Answered
Chapter V. On the Nature of Objects when Acting as Causes
Chapter VI. On the Use of the word Idea in this Treatise, and cursory observations on its nature and proper use in general, &c.
Chapter VII. Application of the Doctrine contained in the preceding Essay to the evidence of our belief in several Opinions
Chapter VIII. Recapitulation
Part II-Short Essays on Several Subjects
Essay I-Consideration of the erroneous reasoning contained in Bishop Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge
Essay II-Upon the nature of the five organs of sense, and their manner of action with regard to external perception-against Bishop Berkeley
Essay III-That the external Causes which determine the various perceptions of sense, are not the immediate actions of Deity-against Bishop Berkeley
Essay IV-Upon Mr. Dugald Stewart's, and Dr. Reid's Philosophy, as it regards the union of colour with extension
and the perception of the external primary Qualities of matter-against Mr. D. Stewart
Essay V-That mathematical demonstration and physical induction are founded upon similar principles of evidence-against Mr. Dugald Stewart
Essay VI-That sensible qualities cannot be causes-against Mr. Hume
Essay VII-That children can perceive the relation of cause and effect, on account of their being capable of a latent comparison of ideas-against Mr. Hume
Essay VIII-That human testimony is of sufficient force to establish the credibility of miracles-against Mr. Hume
Essay IX-On the objection to final causes as ends on account of the efficiency of means-Lord Bacon's ideas concerning a final cause noticed
Essay X-On the Eternity of Mind
Essay XI-On the Immateriality of Mind
Essay XII-On the use of organization in animal existence, especially as it relates to the existence and operation of mental qualities
Essay XIII-On the association of ideas, and the interaction of mind and body
Essay XIV-The reason why we see objects single instead of double, and erect instead of inverted-against Dr. Reid
Lady Mary Shepherd's Metaphysics



Antonia LoLordo is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Locke's Moral Man (OUP, 2012) and Pierre Gassendi and the Birth of Early Modern Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2007), as well as numerous papers. She is also the editor of Persons (OUP, 2019) and co-editor of Debates in Early Modern Philosophy with Stewart Duncan (Routledge, 2013).