Directory: Margaret Cavendish

See the updated entry on Margaret Cavendish in our Directory of Women Philosophers here.


Margaret Cavendish, née Lucas

*1623 (Colchester, United Kingdom)
†December 15, 1673 (Welbeck Abbey, United Kingdom)

Spouse: William Cavendish

Margaret Cavendish was an English polymath whose works span the fields of philosophy, natural science, poetry, play-writing, fiction and autobiography. Cavendish was an early advocate of naturalism and believed that ideas and thoughts, as well as souls, are material. She argued against all forms of tracing bodily actions back to immaterial beings, such as immaterial forms, God or an immaterial mind, and held the view that the causes for bodily actions rest in matter itself. Cavendish believed that we cannot have knowledge of immaterial things. Earlier than Hume, she argued for the idea that knowledge of causal relations rests solely on experience.

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