Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Anne Conway and Henry More on Freedom




This paper seeks to shed light on the often-overlooked account of divine and human freedom presented by Anne Conway in her Principles of the Most Ancient Modern Philosophy (1690), partly through a comparison with the theory of freedom offered by her philosophical mentor, Henry More. After outlining More’s theory of freedom, explored in a number of different works, I argue that, given evidence from correspondence regarding Conway’s familiarity with More’s work, and the timing of the writing of the notes that would be compiled in the Principles, it is highly likely that she has his account of freedom in mind when she offers her own theory of divine and human freedom. Further, I argue that whilst they both agree in attributing substantive freedom to both God and human beings, the Principles crucially departs from More’s philosophy in refraining from limiting freedom to human beings alone but extending it to all creatures. However, I argue that the question of whether Conway follows More in allowing for the possibility of human beings to develop morally to the extent that they attain a good nature and no longer have indifference of the will in a strict sense is unclear.

Acceptance Date Aug 19, 2019
Publication Date Sep 10, 2019
Journal International Journal of Philosophical Studies
Print ISSN 0967-2559
Publisher Routledge
Keywords Anne Conway, Henry More, freedom, God
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations