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The Well-Ordered UniverseThe Philosophy of Margaret Cavendish$
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Deborah Boyle

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190234805

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190234805.001.0001

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Human Nature and the Desire for Fame

Human Nature and the Desire for Fame

(p.118) Chapter 5 Human Nature and the Desire for Fame
The Well-Ordered Universe

Deborah Boyle

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores Cavendish’s pessimistic account of human nature and social relationships. For Cavendish, there is an important disanalogy between humans and other parts of the natural world: humans possess a desire for fame. Juxtaposing her view with Hobbes’s views, this chapter argues that Cavendish distinguishes two forms of self-love as well as two types of desire for recognition to which that self-love can give rise. Pure self-love gives rise to the desire to be recognized for good deeds, or “fame.” Corrupted self-love simply pursues public recognition by any means, even vice; Cavendish calls this “infamy.” The chapter considers Cavendish’s views about the soul and immortality and argues that Cavendish thought fame provides humans with a kind of afterlife. It ends with a discussion of her account of virtue and how she thought humans can become virtuous.

Keywords:   human society, human nature, self-preservation, self-love, fame, infamy, soul, afterlife, virtue, Hobbes

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