Denial of the immaterial substance in early 18th century post-Lockean thought: the cases of Dr. Coward and Mr. Collins
In this thesis I aim to investigate what kinds of arguments were available in the first decades of 18th century Britain when following the footsteps of Overton, Milton, Hobbes, and Locke in doubting or denying the commonly accepted existence of immaterial substance. I look at two possible stands of thinking – Christian mortalism and philosophical materialism – in order to paint a more comprehensive picture that covers both arguments form Scripture and philosophy. As this thesis would otherwise become too convoluted, I focus mainly on two authors – free thinker Anthony Collins (1676 – 1729) who represents Philosophical materialist thought and physician William Coward (1657? – 1725) who represents Christian mortalist thought. I aim to show how those two authors argued against centuries of tradition while constructing their own understanding of human nature. In addition, I will also compare their ideas – see in what way they are similar and in what way they differ from one another.
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