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Keywords:

  • empiricism;
  • Locke;
  • senses;
  • seventeenth century;
  • women philosophers

Abstract

This article examines the work of the seventeenth-century thinker Catharine Trotter Cockburn with an eye toward explication of her trenchant empiricism, and the foundations upon which it rested. It is argued that part of the originality of Cockburn's work has to do with her consistent line of thought with regard to evidence from the senses and the process of abstract conceptualization; in this she differed strongly from some of her contemporaries. The work of Martha Brandt Bolton and Fidelis Morgan is cited, and there is an auxiliary argument to the effect that Cockburn is probably better known as a playwright than she is as a philosophical thinker.