The introduction provides a succinct overview of the main philosophical themes and issues in the selected letters and epistles of four early modern English women: Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, Damaris Cudworth Masham, and Elizabeth Berkeley Burnet. It is argued that their correspondences make a valuable contribution to the study of early modern philosophy. To begin with, they provide a strong sense of the collaborative, dialogical, and gender-inclusive nature of the philosophical enterprise in this period in England (c. 1650–1700). They also give a strong indication of women’s own original philosophical viewpoints, as well as some insight into the genesis and development of each figure’s mature thought in her later published work. The introduction concludes with a brief survey of the main philosophical themes in the texts, ranging from metaphysics, epistemology, and natural philosophy, to ethics, moral theology, and philosophy of religion more generally.
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