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Culverwell, Nathaniel (c.1618–c.1651)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DA024-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 05, 2020, from

Article Summary

Nathaniel Culverwell (or Culverwel) was one of the first natural law theorists in seventeenth-century England, and one of the first moral philosophers to stress the primacy of reason. His aim was to revive the natural law tradition of Aquinas and Suarez, which had fallen into disrepute in English Calvinism. Culverwell’s theory is a synthesis of rationalism and voluntarism. It attempts to do justice to both the normative and coercive, to the moral and punitive aspects of law. The emphasis of his theory is, however, strongly rationalist, a reaction against the voluntarist legacy of Calvinism. Culverwell had close connections with some of the leading figures of Cambridge Platonism. He is not, however, a typical member of this school, because of the strong Calvinist strands of his early sermons.

Citing this article:
Beiser, Frederick. Culverwell, Nathaniel (c.1618–c.1651), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DA024-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

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