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Cockburn, Catharine (1679–1749)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DA017-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 28, 2021, from

Article Summary

Catharine Cockburn (Catharine Trotter) was a British moral philosopher who turned to philosophy after a successful career as one of the first woman playwrights. She wrote no substantial systematic treatise of her own, but intervened ably and anonymously in philosophical and theological debates of her day, in particular the debate on ethical rationalism triggered by Samuel Clarke’s 1704–5 Boyle lectures. Her adversaries included Thomas Rutherforth, William Warburton, Isaac Watts, Francis Hutcheson and Lord Shaftesbury. Her most famous contribution to the philosophy of her time was her able 1702 defence of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Her letters, published posthumously, discuss a range of philosophical topics.

Citing this article:
Hutton, Sarah. Cockburn, Catharine (1679–1749), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DA017-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

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