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The Philosophy of Mary AstellAn Early Modern Theory of Virtue$
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Jacqueline Broad

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716815.001.0001

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Virtue and the Passions

Virtue and the Passions

(p.84) 5 Virtue and the Passions
The Philosophy of Mary Astell

Jacqueline Broad

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Mary Astell’s philosophy of the passions, those perceptions that arise in the mind as a result of its close intermingling with the body. The first part of the chapter demonstrates that, for Astell, the regulation of the passions is the key to attaining virtue, a disposition to feel and act in the right manner, toward the right ends, in accordance with right reason. The second part spells out the significance of the Cartesian passion known as ‘generosity’ in terms of Astell’s project for the moral reformation of women. The third and final part explains the connection between a woman’s cultivation of generosity and her ultimate attainment of happiness.

Keywords:   Mary Astell, Cartesianism, generosity, the passions, virtue

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