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Title: The third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) : his politics and ideas
Author: Cunliffe, Christopher
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1981
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This thesis seeks to provide a political context for the philosophical work of the third earl of Shaftesbury. A biographical framework is adopted which details Shaftesbury's political interests, both inside and outside parliament. In attempting to trace the links between his political life and his philosophical ideas particular attention is given to Shaftesbury's debt to his tutor, Locke, as well as to the importance of his visits to the Netherlands. Shaftesbury's connections with radical whig politicians at the end of the seventeenth century are also investigated: they are an indication of his interest in practical political issues. The main argument of the thesis is that Shaftesbury's published work is fully comprehensible only if this political context is taken into account. By concentrating solely on his importance in the history of moral or aesthetic philosophy scholars have effectively removed the political cutting-edge from Shaftesbury's work. It was precisely because Shaftesbury was aware of the political implications of his moral and aesthetic philosophy that he was such a controversial social critic in his own day. The originality of the thesis lies in the presentation of a more complete biography of Shaftesbury than has previously been attempted. Although the Shaftesbury papers in London are the major source for the thesis, other material has been consulted, including manuscripts in the Netherlands, which gives a fuller picture of the circles in which he moved. Shaftesbury was not an important politician, but his strong political concerns need to be emphasised before his thought can be understood: politics and philosophy were continuous for him.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political and social views ; Philosophers ; Politics and government ; England ; Biography ; Great Britain