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    [Featured Lot]. Ralph Cudworth. Systema Intellectuale Hujus Universi Seu De Veris Naturae Rerum Originibus Commentarii, Quibus Omnes Eorum Philosophia, Qui Deum Esse Negant, Funditus Evertitur. Leiden: Samuel & Johann Luchtmans, 1773. Krown & Spellman retail: $750. Second Latin edition.
    Quarto. 2 vols. [4], lvi, [2], 968; [2], 922, [67]pp. 19th c. Half calf over cloth, spine of vol. 1 defective, front cover off vol. 2, damp and mold stains at foot; bookplates of Philip Schaff Library with his signature. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.


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    "Cudworth is probably the most learned, able, and sensible of his school. The book is in form as much historical as argumentative. The fourth chapter, which is more than half the book, is intended to show that a primitive monotheistic creed was implied in the ancient paganism. The rest of the book is devoted to a consideration of the various forms of atheism held by the ancient philosophers, with an elaborate reply to their arguments. Cudworth was undoubtedly aiming at Hobbes, the great contemporary advocate of materialist philosophy, but his discussion generally takes the shape of an attack upon Democritus, Strabo, and Lucretius, and a defense of Plato and Aristotle. Though abandoning the old scholasticism, he scarcely appreciates the modern theories of Bacon, Descartes, and Spinoza, and thus appears rather antiquated for his time. His profound learning in the ancient philosophy did not lead him, like his friend Henry More, into the mysticism of the later platonists. His candid statement of the atheist's argument probably suggested an often quoted remark of Dryden (dedication of the Æneid) that Cudworth "raised such strong objections against the being of a God and Providence, that many think he hath not answered them." Many readers probably stopped short of the fifth chapter, which contains Cudworth's answer in detail. Shaftesbury (Moralists, ii. § 3) suggests that the imputation was the natural consequence of Cudworth's fairness. His most original theory as to a "plastic nature" provoked a famous controversy. The doctrine, which has some resemblance to modern philosophies of the "Unconscious" (see chap. iii. § 16), was intended to meet the dilemma of mere chance on one hand, or a constant divine interference on the other. Le Clerc having given some specimens of the book in the Bibliotheque Choisie, Bayle, in his Continuation Des Pensées Diverses sur les Cometes, maintained that Cudworth's hypothesis weakened the argument against atheism by admitting of an originating action in nature." DNB. Mosheim's edition is most important, adding extensive notes. It is interesting to also note that this is from the libraries of Philip Schaff, famous church historian, & Dr. Thomas Head. STCN 173304. Graesse II, 305. Brunet II, 437.         



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    26th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 7
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