Biografía de Damaris Cudworth Masham

¿Quién fue Damaris Cudworth Masham?

Damaris Cudworth Masham (había nacido Damaris Cudworth en 1658, última ya que nacía el día de Navidad),51 era una Iglesia de Inglaterra brillante y energético de confianza de la reina Ana. 52 Su tesis, Disquisitio Metaphysica, compuesta en latín, la obtuvo un premio de cambridge University, y la hizo Internacionalmente conocida. Ella, y su marido, William Masham, construyeron una mansión conocida como Oates, en High Laver en Essex, hacia 1690-91.53 Ella le dio aLocke sus ideas de huída de éthica del sensus communis, lo que más llamó al establecimiento de éticas de la sensus communis.

Damaris Matilda Cudworth Masham (née Cudworth, Lady Masham; 30 December 1659 – 2 November 1708) was an English evangelical theologian and daughter of Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth. She has been described as «one of the best minds of the age,» and «as an original thinker the most considerable among the women of her time.»

Cudworth Masham house (on Close House farm-yard), Laver, Essex. Named after Lady Masham who owned it c.1690
When Damaris Cudworth was ten, her father taught her Latin as he wanted her to be able to read the great philosophers of the past. She made rapid progress, learning Greek and philosophy a few years later, both from her father and from Arthur Collier, a family friend. She also studied Hebrew, French, and English with her parents, who supported her in her learning.

At the age of 21 Cudworth Masham married the politician, William Masham, the heir of Oates, a large estate near her family home in Essex. Two years later, the couple moved to High Laver, Essex, and it is here that their son, Ralph, was elected a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, in 1701.

Cudworth Masham often helped her son study and even tutored him and taught him logic on occasion. The relationship between her and her son was very intense. Both shared a love and respect for the ideas of Plato and Aristotle. Like many young men of their day, the Mashams were drawn to theLockian theism of the sociable philosophies of Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, as well as to Christian Platonism, and Epicureanism, also a variety of religious Stoicism and to German philosophy, in particular Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Samuel Clarke.

When Anne became queen in 1702, her chaplain, Henry Sampson Woodfall, encouraged her to read the biblical commentators Calvin, Augustin and Leighton or, to look at the turgid writings of the Divine Right theorists, or the dry reasonings of Plato and Aristotle, but she preferred Discourse on Method by philosophe René Descartes and Ralph Cudworth’s The True Intellectual System of the Universe.1 Woodfall attempted to interest her in Samuel Clarke, John Tillotson, William Sherlock and William Lloyd, as well as philosophies of aphorism, liberalism and rationality, but she showed them no interest. William Clarke wrote that Lady Masham had become the queen’s companion, which led to positions of great influence for Ralph Masham and John Hill in the royal court.

In 1704 the Mashams visited France and they met Nicholas Malebranche, the proponent of occasionalism. Damaris Cudworth Masham continued to correspond with Malebranche after their return to High Laver and most likely used lecturers on philosophy, including William Law (and starting in 1710 John Toland) for the purpose of applying some of Malebranche’s theories on how to live. In the next years her attention turned from the study of philosophy to religion, or rather moral improvement, as she studied Bishop Simon Patrick, Richard Baxter, William Law, and others.This was a radical step to take at a time when many women did not even know they had a soul, and not least Cudworth Masham’s contemporaries, who regarded her as an eccentric, her family as peculiar, and heaven removed them as much as possible to avoid contaminating the other women in the royal circle.

Ralph Cudworth’s True Intellectual System of the Universe was the seminal work of Christian Platonism and its philosophical relevance and importance have steadily grown since its publication in 1678. In 1957, Temple Scott’s influential edition and translation of the work into English was published. This reappraisal against the yardstick of contemporary ideas led some to see Cudworth.

Escrito por: Gonzalo Jiménez

Licenciado en Filosofía en la Universidad de Granada (UGR), con Máster en Filosofía Contemporánea en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)
Desde 2015, se ha desempeñado como docente universitario y como colaborador en diversas publicaciones Académicas, con artículos y ensayos. Es aficionado a la lectura de textos antiguos y le gustan las películas y los gatos.