Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson: Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond

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Are human beings linked by a common nature, one that makes them see the world in the same moral way? Or are they fragmented by different cultural practices and values? These fundamental questions of our existence were debated in the Enlightenment by Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson. Daniel Carey provides an important new historical perspective on their discussion. At the same time, he explores the relationship between these founding arguments and contemporary disputes over cultural diversity and multiculturalism. Our own conflicting positions today reflect long-standing differences that emerged during the Enlightenment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As an attempt to recover the differences among Locke, Shaftsbury, and Hutcheson and to consider the prospects for accommodation, Carey’s book succeeds. He provides a lucid reading of the Enlighteners and, in so doing, reminds us that the Enlightenment did not usher in a totalitarian project."
Eduardo Velasquez, Washington and Lee University, Perspectives on Politics

"Carey’s book is bursting with interesting ideas and is an excellent addition to intellectual history and to the literature on all three of its major figures."
Aaron Garrett, Boston University, Eighteenth-Century Scotland

"Carey's use of correspondence and unpublished manuscripts from the early modern periods adds to the value of his study, which as a whole contains a wealth of information and ideas. All this is to Carey's great credit."
Thomas Mautner, Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries

"Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson is...an important book, not least for anyone interested in the origins of the Scottish Enlightenment. It is well-written, and provides an especially clear exposition of the arguments found in the key texts. It sheds new light on Hutcheson’s English and Irish influences. It also suggests that the problem of diversity, once posed, could not readily be – in fact, still has not been – convincingly resolved. As a result, we still do not know what human nature is, but remain beguiled by the possibility that it might exist. In an increasingly multicultural world, the issues with which the British philosophers of the early Enlightenment wrestled continue to perplex."
The Scottish Historical Review

"[An] indispensable work of intellectual history...elegant and persuasive...a masterful book."
Adam Potkay, The Scriblerian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521845021
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Ideas in Context Series, #74
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Carey is Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Locke, diversity, and the natural history of man; 2. The uses of diversity: Locke's reply to Stoicism; 3. Locke's anthropology: travel, innateness, and the exercise of reason; 4. Contesting diversity: Shaftesbury's Reply to Locke; 5. Method, moral sense, and the problem of diversity: Francis Hutcheson and the Scottish Enlightenment; 6. Conclusion: the future of diversity; Bibliography; Index.

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