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By Jon Parkin

Richard Cumberland is likely one of the 17th century's finest political theorists. His masterpiece, the De legibus naturae(1672), has infrequently been tested by itself phrases, yet via tracing the political, spiritual and highbrow conditions of the composition of this perplexing paintings, and exhibiting its significance as a critique of Thomas Hobbes, writer of the Leviathan, Dr Parkin demonstrates how Cumberland created a brand new political and moral conception which absorbed and neutralised a lot of Hobbes's insights. He additionally examines the technological know-how of the Royal Society as a foundation for Cumberland's common legislations thought and its effect on such thinkers as Samuel Pufendorf and John Locke. total, the publication presents a tremendous new point of view at the interplay of technology, faith and politics in recovery England.

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Extra resources for Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England: Richard Cumberland's De Legibus Naturae

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Page 5 Cumberland's critique is both effective and distinctive because it seeks to refute Hobbes from his own premises. Hobbes's nineteenth-century biographer, George Croom Robertson, commented that Cumberland's effectiveness as a critic resulted from the fact that he stood 'much closer to Hobbes in method of inquiry than any other of his opponents'. '14 This point is of some importance when we consider the relationship between Cumberland's response to Hobbes, and his positive political theory.

Iii; A. H. Wood, Church unity without uniformity, London 1963; D. R. Lacey, Dissent and parliamentary politics, New Brunswick, NJ 1969; Spurr, Restoration Church of England. 5 E. Stillingfleet, Irenicum: a weapon-salve for the churches wounds, or the divine right of particular forms of church government discuss'd and examin'd according to the principles of the law of nature, London 1661, 3. Page 19 Stillingfleet began by proposing a theoretical framework for his general argument. If both sides wished to talk about church institutions by divine right, it made sense to examine exactly what this use of the term 'right' meant.

19 This aspect of Hobbes's work has been explored by Noel Malcolm, who has suggested that a critical response to Hobbes could stem from an uncomfortable awareness that what Hobbes had said shockingly was not far removed from the critic's own position. Criticising Hobbes's atheism could be a means of vindicating one's own 'Hobbist' arguments from the suspicion of the heterodoxy with which Hobbes was associated. In what follows it will be argued that Cumberland's work was just such an attempt to define the relationship between Cumberland's Anglican beliefs and Hobbes's controversial ideas.

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