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Anne Conway: Bodies in the Spiritual World



Anne Conway argues that all substances are spiritual. Yet, she also claims that all created substance has some type of body. Peter Loptson has argued that Conway didn’t carefully consider her view that all created beings have bodies for it seems God could have (and perhaps should have) created only disembodied spirits. There are several reasons to think Loptson is right. First, Conway holds that God is all-good and will do the best for his creation. She also holds that spirit is better than body. So, how is it that creatures always have bodies? Second, although she maintains that incorporation is punishment for sin, Conway holds that some creatures can fall without acquiring visible corporality. I argue that when we examine these views more closely, we will see that not only did Conway give them careful consideration, but that there is no inconsistency. Finally, I show that Conway’s views concerning the nature and function of body provides further evidence of her carefully crafted system. Conway holds that bodies play an important role in a finite beings’ ability to change and interact with others. Even more surprising is Conway’s view that the body is the repository of thoughts, memories, and knowledge.