Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 13, 1987/1988

Chester Chapin
Pages 315-329

British References to Shaftesbury 1700-1800
Additions, with Commentary, to A.O. Aldridge’s List

Adding to A.O. Aldridge’s 1951 list, this list of British eighteenth-century references to Shaftesbury provides further evidence that the philosophy of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson is an important rival to Lockean empiricism during the early and middle decades of the century. The peak of Shaftesbury’s influence occurs during the 1740’s and 1750’s when the deist controversy was at its height. A more conservative political and religious climate of opinion after 1759 is one reason for the decline of Shaftesbury’s reputation as a philosopher. Another is Shaftesbury’s displacement by Hume as an important enemy of orthodox Christianity. During the 1760’s and later, Hume is attacked by the Scottish “common sense” philosophers, who find anticipations of Humean scepticism in Locke and Berkeley (but not in Shaftesbury), thereby unwittingly helping to provide the foundation for the eventual establishment of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume as the “big three” of eighteenth-century philosophy.