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Law, William (1686–1761)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DB050-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

William Law is popularly known for a single devotional work, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), but was the author of seventeen other treatises concerned with many of the philosophical and theological issues of the earlier eighteenth century in England. Early on he embraced the thought of Nicolas Malebranche, and later the mystical philosophy of Jakob Boehme. Law’s methodology is an awkward mixture of these influences, for he wanted to find reason in the ‘creaturely Spirit’ of the natural life (The Spirit of Love, 1752). He seems finally to have abandoned reason in favour of Boehme’s ‘metaphysical scheme’, which enables him to discover meaning and coherence in a post-Enlightenment world.

Citing this article:
Stanwood, Paul G.. Law, William (1686–1761), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DB050-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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