Deborah Boyle

in The Well-Ordered Universe

Published in print January 2018 | ISBN: 9780190234805
Published online November 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190234829 | DOI:

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Although Cavendish believed Nature to be one continuous whole, she also believed Nature can be understood as a collection of particular finite items or creatures, individuated by how their motions differ. This chapter examines her account of how individual creatures behave and interact. It covers Cavendish’s account of the identity of individual creatures over time (where self-love and passionate love play a role), her distinction of natural creatures from the artificial or “hermaphroditical,” her account of interaction between creatures through occasional causation and sympathy, and her distinction between voluntary and involuntary actions by creatures. Since creatures also require knowledge in order to move appropriately, this chapter explores Cavendish’s epistemology, focusing on self-knowledge and perception. It also examines the relationship between the natural world and God and Cavendish’s account of “irregularities” when creatures do not behave as they should.

Keywords: natural kinds; self-love; hermaphrodite; causation; voluntary; involuntary; self-knowledge; perception; God; irregularities

Chapter.  13336 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy

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