Henry More on Time, Physics and God – Emily Thomas

Henry More (Wikimedia Commons)

Henry More (Wikimedia Commons)

Monday, June 2nd, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130

Absolutism about time holds that time is eternal, immutable, and independent of human minds and change. The theory arguably emerged in the seventeenth century, and in English thought it was uniquely supplemented by two further theses: time is substantial, a kind of substance-like ‘thing’; and time is divine. Although this kind of absolute time came to prominence in the work of Newton, it can also be found in Henry More, Isaac Barrow, and Samuel Clarke. This paper explores the first English account of absolute time, in the ‘Cambridge Platonist’ More, and argues that two pressures led More to develop it: Cartesian physics, and theology. This work throws new light on More’s metaphysics, and on the influence More had on the English thinkers who followed him.

Dr Emily Thomas is a researcher in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies in Groningen. She works on time, space and substance in the history of philosophy and contemporary metaphysics. Her current project is an examination of the shifting conceptions of time and change in early modern British metaphysics.

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