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Cudworth on Mind, Body, and Plastic Nature



Ralph Cudworth (1617–1688) is a member of the group of philosophers and theologians commonly called ‘the Cambridge Platonists’. Although not part of the canon of great early modern philosophers, Cudworth’s work is of more than merely passing interest. Cudworth was an influential philosopher in the early modern period both for his criticisms of contemporaries like Hobbes, Descartes, and Spinoza, and for his own distinctive philosophical views. This entry focusses on Cudworth’s views on mind and body, considering both his criticisms of contemporaries’ theories of mind and body, and outlining his alternative form of dualism in which plastic nature plays a central role.