Home  »  Volume VII: English CAVALIER AND PURITAN  »  § 16. Richard Cumberland

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

XII. Hobbes and Contemporary Philosophy

§ 16. Richard Cumberland

The treatise De legibus naturae, published in 1672, by Richard Cumberland, afterwards bishop of Peterborough, is much more than a criticism of Hobbes. It is a restatement of the doctrine of the law of nature as furnishing the ground of the obligation of all the moral virtues. The work is heavy in style, and its philosophical analysis lacks thoroughness; but its insistence on the social nature of man, and its doctrine of the common good as the supreme law of morality, anticipate the direction taken by much of the ethical thought of the following century.