Abstract

This paper offers an account of Margaret Cavendish's moral and political philosophy. In some respects Cavendish's theoury echoes Hobbes. However, although Cavendish agrees with Hobbes that morality is based on self-interest, she holds that morality derives from our natural desire for public recognition, not the desire for self-preservation. Via the desire for fame, self-love can motivate people to pursue virtue, which, for Cavendish, means establishing and maintaining a good government (in particular, absolute sovereignty). The paper explores how Cavendish thinks such a government can be established and maintained. Cavendish's account of female virtue and its connection with honor and fame is also discussed.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3222
Print ISSN
0022-5037
Pages
pp. 251-289
Launched on MUSE
2006-05-22
Open Access
No
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