Damaris Cudworth Masham Archives



More Generally: Historical Thinkers (309)

April 28, 2020

"The Sacred Law of Fashion": Masham on Religious (Non-)Conformity

The 'occasion' for Damaris Cudworth Masham's 1705 Occasional Thoughts was, she tell us, a discussion among several women about "ladies' conduct books" and, in particular, Francois Aubignac's Les Conseils d'Ariste a Celimene, sur les Moyens de Conserver sa Reputation (Occasional Thoughts, p. 9).* These conduct books were intended to teach young ladies how to behave properly in the society circles in which they would move. This particular book was likely chosen because its very title illustrates the point Masham wants to make about this genre. The book purports to be advice from a man to a young woman on how...
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April 27, 2020

Space Aliens and Skeptical Theism

Early modern philosophers, like 21st century theistic philosophers, often employ a strategy known as 'skeptical theism'. The basic idea is that we can't make empirical arguments against the existence of God because we don't know enough to make any judgment about whether our observations are consistent with the kind of universe God would or would not create. Here's one kind of consideration a skeptical theist can appeal to: there's probably intelligent life on other planets (otherwise, as Carl Sagan famously observed, it'd be an awful lot of wasted space). We have no idea what conditions are like for these beings,...
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