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Hylozoism and the Nature of Material Substance

  • Robert Crocker
Chapter
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 185)

Abstract

When not contained by his limited vitalism, ‘pure’ mechanism seemed to More to lead to a ‘nullibism’, where spirit was said to be in effect ‘nowhere’. In Descartes this had arisen from his conception of the physical world as an indefinite material extension, and his radical exclusion of all rational spiritual beings from this extension. In Hobbes this ‘nullibism’ was made more explicit: there was simply nothing that could be known from observation but matter in motion. For More such an exemplary ‘atheism’ was not strictly speaking the result of a disbelief in the existence of God, or even in the immortality of the soul, but of a philosophy which might be taken to imply such a disbelief.

Keywords

Material Substance Medical Writer Energetic Substance Immaterial Substance Intellectual Humility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See DD: 222–4; and Psychathanasia: I i 10–18.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Psychathanasia: I i 14; and see above.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See Alexander Jacob (ed), Henry More’s Refutation of Spinoza (Hildescheim, Georg Olms, 1993), Introduction; and John Henry, “Medicine, and Pneumatology: Henry More, Richard Baxter and Francis Glisson’s Treatise on the Energetic Nature of Substance.” Medical History, 31 (1987): 15–40, especially 15–23.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    On Glisson (1597–1677) see DNB, DSB, W. Pagel, “Harvey and Glisson on Irritability with a note on Van Helmont” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 41 (1967): 497–514; W. Pagel, “The reaction to Aristotle in seventeenth century Biological Thought”, in E.A. Underwood (ed), Science, Medicine and History (2 vols, Oxford: OUP, 1953): vol 1, 489–509; and John Henry, “Medicine, and Pneumatology.” More’s tract was motivated by reading Franciscus Cuperus, Arcana Atheismi revelata, philosophice et paradoxe refutata examine Tractatus Theologico-Politici (Rotterdam, 1676). It is entitled Ad V.C. Epistola Altera quae brevem Tractatus Theologico-politici confutationem complectitur, paucaque sub fine annex habet de libri Franciscus Cuperi scopo... in Op Om (tom.2, 1679): 565–614. See 604 and 607; and Colie, Light and Enlightenment (1957), chapters 5 and 6 on More’s reaction to Spinoza and his relation to the opponents of Spinoza in Holland. See also Cristofolini, Cartesi (1974): 139–206, and especially, Sarah Hutton, “Reason and Revelation in the Cambridge Platonists, and their Reception of Spinoza.” in K. Grunder and W. Schmidt-Biggemann (eds), Spinoza in der Fruhzeit seiner Religiosen Wirkung. Wolfenbutteler Studien zur Aufldarung, 12 Heidelburg,1984, p.181–99.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The reference to Glisson is actually in Cuperus, but More cites it, Op Om (tom.2): 604; the scholia refuting Glisson is 604–611. See John Henry, “Medicine and Pneumatology.” Henry’s exposition of Glisson’s side of this little quarrel is exemplary, but somewhat reductionistic in its depiction of More’s, whom he wishes to show, does not argue philosophically, but theologically. This tends to also undermine his discussion of More’s subsequent quarrel with Baxter for similar reasons, discussed below.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See DSB; Pagel, “The reaction to Aristotle”, and Henry, “Medicine and Pneumatology.”Google Scholar
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    Glisson, Tractatus (1672): 191. See also the exposition in Pagel, “Reaction to Aristotle”: 503–6.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tractatus (1672): 136 ff.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    These ideas were taken up by Richard Baxter in his definition of the nature of a spirit.Google Scholar
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    Tractatus (1672): 208.Google Scholar
  11. 1.
    lbid: 235.Google Scholar
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    See Pagel, “Reaction to Aristotle”: 503 note.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See above.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Glisson, Tractatus (1672), on non-perpetual motions: 352–5; and on the `inanimate motions’: 367–75. More’s criticism of these occurs, Op Om: 605. See also Henry, “Medicine and Pneumatology.”Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Op Om: 605–6.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    As Henry points out, “Medicine and Pneumatology”. However, the incompatibility of the basic concepts both employed presents an overwhelming obstacle to coherence in such arguments. The argument is thus as much about conceptual methodology as about the subjects discussed, as Henry admits.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Op Om: 605.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
    See the similar attacks on Glisson’s ‘hylozoism’ in Cudworth, TIS (1687): 839.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Op Om: 610.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Op Om: 608.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tractatus (1672): 191; and More, Op Om: 607–8.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    See above, and [Vaughan], Second Wash (1651): 79; and Euphrates (1655): 23.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tractatus (1672): 1 ff.; and see Pagel, “Reaction to Aristotle”: 505.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    See above, and [Vaughan], Euphrates (1655): 17.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    This controversy is also discussed in Henry, “Medicine and Pneumatology”, but, as with his discussion of More against Glisson, his account is somewhat one-sided where Baxter’s superior philosophizing is contrasted to More’s dependence on theology, a somewhat misleading presentation, which is repeated again briefly in Henry, “A Cambridge Platonist’s Materialism: Henry More and the concept of Soul”, JWCI 49 (1986): 172–195, especially 183–192. In this article More’s `materialism’ depends on an idiosyncratic and misleading definition of the word, and this tends to undermine the value of what is in other respects an interesting discussion.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    See also AA: I iv, and Appendix (1655): iv; and IS, I iii-vii.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    See Dr. Williams Library, Mss. Baxter Letters, III, f.286, More to Baxter, Sept.25, 1681, and More, Digression against Baxter, contained in his Two Treatises (1682): 202.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    See Some Cursory Reflections Impartially made upon Mr. Richard Baxter his way of Writing Notes upon the Apocalypse, in More, Paralipomena Prophetica (1685). The controversy is discussed by Lamont, Richard Baxter and the Millennium (1979): 42 ff., however Lamont does not seem to be aware of this initial controversy. See idem 44–5.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    As Lamont Ibid: 42, also demonstrates.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Baxter, Of the Nature of Spirits; Especially Mans Soul. In a placid Collation with the Learned Dr. Henry More (1682): 94–5.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Baxter, Placid Collation: 95 and More, An Answer to a Letter (1689): 250–2.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    See Baxter, Unreasonableness of Infidelity (1655), III: 89 and 107, and Certainty of the World of Spirits (1691), Preface.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    The Mss. Baxter Letters (Dr Williams Library mss), vol.I, f.174–5. See also also f.170–1, and above.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    See, for example, Baxter, Treatise of Knowledge and Love Compared (1689), title page, and also N.H. Keeble, Richard Baxter, Puritan Man of Letters (1982): 40.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Placid Collation (1681): 4.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    See above, and More, Two Treatises (1682): 187, and 258.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ibid: 188. More’s Annotations were written anonymously.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Placid Collation (1681): 110.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    See IS: I vii and passim; and True Notion: 133–4.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    IS: II xviii 1.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    True Notion: 151–61.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    True Notion: 154–7. See also IS: II i-xi, and especially II xi.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ibid, I v-vii; and True Notion: 162.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    See IS: I ii 1; and above.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Of the Immortality of Man’s Soul, and the Nature of it and other Spirits (1681): 27.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    See above, and Henry, “Medicine and Pneumatology”.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Placid Collation (1681): 12–3.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Placid Collation (1681): 76: “You seem to make all Substance to be Atomes, spiritual atomes and material atomes.”Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Placid Colla ti on: 16–18.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Placid Collation: 40–1.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Placid Collation: 50.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Placid Col la tion: 47 and 76.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Digression, in Two Treatises (1682): 243.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Two Treatises: 208, and compare with Placid Collation: 12–14, cited above.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Two Treatises: 232.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Two Treatises: 209.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Two Treatises: 211.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    See IS: I ii 11.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Two Treatises: 212.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Two Treatises: 215. This `reduplication’ is also reminiscent of the reduplication Glisson gave to the sensate expressions of his unitary `energetic substance’. See above.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Two Treatise: 219.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Two Treatises: 217, and below.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
  65. 65.
  66. 66.
    Ibid: 221 and 231 ff, and see above.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    See “An Account of the Second Edition”, ST (1689): 8.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    ST: 238–243.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Ibid: 226–230.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    On Finch, see DNB, and Archibald Malloch, Finch and Baines: A Seventeenth Century Friendship. (Cambridge, 1917). The manuscript treatise is located in the Leicester Record Office, Finch papers, DG7, Box 4976, Lit. 9.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Treatise: 17 Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Treatise: 25Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Treatise: 148Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Treatise: 542Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Leicester Record Office, Finch papers, DG7, Box 4978, lit 24, 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AustraliaAustralia

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