In this groundbreaking collection of essays the history of philosophy appears in a fresh light, not as reason's progressive discovery of its universal conditions, but as a series of unreconciled disputes over the proper way to conduct oneself as a philosopher. By shifting focus from the philosopher as proxy for the universal subject of reason to the philosopher as a special persona arising from rival forms of self-cultivation, philosophy is approached in terms of the social office and intellectual deportment of the philosopher, as a personage with a definite moral physiognomy and institutional setting. In so doing, this collection of essays by leading figures in the fields of both philosophy and the history of ideas provides access to key early modern disputes over what it meant to be a philosopher, and to the institutional and larger political and religious contexts in which such disputes took place.
• Approaches the history of the early modern philosopher in terms of arguments over how one should conduct oneself as a philosopher • Offers fresh insight into the role of political and religious disputes in shaping the history of philosophy • Very strong international team of contributors, with many of the recognised 'stars' of intellectual history and the history of ideas
List of contributors; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The persona of the natural philosopher Stephen Gaukroger; 2. The university philosopher in early modern Germany Ian Hunter; 3. The persona of the philosopher and the rhetorics of office in early modern England Conal Condren; 4. From Sir Thomas More to Robert Burton: the laughing philosopher in the early modern period Catherine Curtis; 5. 'Vaine philosophy': Thomas Hobbes and the philosophy of the Schools Richard Serjeantson; 6. The judicial persona in historical context: the case of Matthew Hale David Saunders; 7. Persona and office: Althusius on the formation of magistrates and councillors Robert von Friedeburg; 8. Descartes as sage: spiritual askesis in Cartesian philosophy John Cottingham; 9. The natural philosopher and the virtues Peter Harrison; 10. Fictions of a feminine philosophical persona: Christine de Pizan, Margaret Cavendish, and philosophia lost Karen Green and Jacqueline Broad; 11. John Locke and polite philosophy Richard Yeo.