Clarke, Samuel (1675–1729)

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Samuel Clarke, the most important British philosopher and theologian of his generation, was born in Norwich, England, on October 11, 1675. He took his BA degree at Cambridge in 1695, defending Isaac Newton's views. In 1697 he provided a new annotated Latin translation of Jacques Rohault's Treatise of Physics, and in his notes criticized René Descartes's physics in favor of Newton's. In that same year he was introduced into the Newtonian circle, probably by William Whiston (16671752), whom he had befriended. In 1704 he delivered his first set of Boyle Lectures, A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God: More Particularly in Answer to Mr. Hobbes, Spinoza, and Their Followers. They were so successful that he was asked to deliver the 1705 lectures as well under the title A Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion and the Truth and Certainty of Christian Revelation. His connection with Newton became official in 1706, when he translated the Opticks into Latin. In the same year Anthony Collins, a materialist follower of John Locke's, engaged Clarke in a long and famous exchange on whether matter can think.

After becoming one of Queen Anne's (16651714) chaplains, Clarke was elevated in 1709 to the rectory of St. James's, Westminster. In 1712 Clarke published The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, which was accused of Arianism, the view that Christ is divine but created. The ensuing theological controversy culminated two years later in his humiliating promise to the Upper House of Convocation not to preach or write on the trinity any longer. However, suspicions of crypto-Arianism remained. François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire reports that Bishop Edmund Gibson (16691748) effectively prevented Clarke's elevation to the see of Canterbury by pointing out that Clarke was indeed the most learned and honest man in the kingdom, but had one defect: He was not a Christian.

After the Hanoverian accession Clarke developed a close relationship with Caroline of Anspach (16831737), the Princess of Wales, and through her mediation he engaged Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the most famous philosophical correspondence of the eighteenth century. The exchange dealt with many of the issues that had occupied Clarke in his Boyle Lectures, such as divine immensity and eternity, the relation of God to the world, the soul and its relation to the body, free will, space and time, and the nature of miracles. It also discussed more strictly scientific topics, such as the nature of matter, the existence of atoms and the void, the size of the universe, and the nature of motive force, which were then often given both a philosophical and a scientific treatment. In 1717 Clarke published his translation of the correspondence with Leibniz together with an attack on a work by Collins denying the existence of free will. This was his last significant philosophical work, although in 1728 he wrote a short essay for the Philosophical Transactions trying to show, against the Leibnizians, that the proper measure of force is not mv 2 but mv. He died in 1729 after a short illness and was survived by his wife, Katherine, and five of his seven children.

Clarke was a polite and courtly man who, however, was vivacious with his friends and seems to have been fond of playing cards. He was also a classicist of repute, and seems to have held Marcus Tullius Cicero's views in high esteem. Voltaire, who met him, was impressed by his piety and admired his logical skills so much that he called him "a veritable thinking machine." Indeed, his reputation was such that in 1710 George Berkeley sent him the first edition of his A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (Clarke declined to comment on it).

The Attack against Naturalism and the Defense of Natural Religion

Clarke's primary philosophical interests lay in theology, metaphysics, and, to a lesser degree, ethics. His philosophical vocabulary and some of his metaphysical ideas were influenced by Descartes, whom he followed in holding that the world contains two types of substance, mind and matter, the combination of which constitutes humans. However, he sided with Nicolas Malebranche and Locke in denying that introspection lets one reach the substance of the soul. Indeed, like Locke and Newton, he held that one just does not know the substance of things. Furthermore, Clarke's overall judgment of Descartes was critical. He shared the view expressed by Henry More, Blaise Pascal, Pierre Bayle, and Leibniz that Descartes's system could be, and had been, used to further irreligion and had naturally developed into Spinozism. In particular, he believed that Descartes's identification of matter with extension, and therefore space, entails making it eternal and infinite. He defended natural religion from naturalism (the view that nature constitutes a self-sufficient system of which humans are but a part) and revealed religion from deism.

Clarke's attack against naturalism revolved around five connected points. First, God is a necessarily existent omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, omnipresent, and supremely benevolent person. Second, nature and its laws are radically contingent. God, endowed with a libertarian will, chose to create the world and to operate in it by a reasonable but uncaused fiat. Third, although space and time are infinite, matter is spatiotemporally finite, and being endowed only with vis inertiae it has no power of self-motion. Fourth, God is substantially present in nature (or better, nature is literally in God, since space and time are divine attributes) and constantly exercises his power by applying attractive and repulsive forces to bodies. Except for the law of inertia, which describes the essentially passive nature of matter, strictly speaking, the laws of nature do not describe the behavior of matter, which is just dead mass constantly pushed around, but the modalities of the ordinary operation of the divine power. As for occasionalism, natural laws prescribe the actions of the divine will rather than describe those of bodies.

Fifth, although the soul is extended and interacts with the body, it is necessarily immaterial because matter, being constituted of merely juxtaposed parts, cannot possibly think even by divine intervention; moreover, the soul has been endowed by God with a libertarian will. The first four points guarantee that nature is not a self-sufficient system, so much so that without direct and constant divine physical intervention planets would fly away from their orbits, atoms would break into their components, and the machinery of the world would literally grind to a halt; the fifth guarantees that the soul is not a part of nature. In the remainder of this entry, it will be seen that these points emerge from a consideration of Clarke's views on God, free will, matter and the laws of nature, space and time, and the soul.


The proof of the necessary existence and attributes of God occupies most of A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God. The main lines of Clarke's argument are as follows. Since something exists now, something has always existed because nothing comes from nothing. What has existed from eternity is either an independent being (one having in itself the reason of its existence), or an infinite series of dependent beings. However, such a series cannot be the being that has existed from eternity because by hypothesis it can have no external cause, and no internal cause (no dependent being in it) can cause the whole series. Hence, an independent being exists. As a separate argument, Clarke also reasoned that since space and time cannot be thought of as nonexistent and they are obviously not self-subsistent, the substance on which they depend, God, must exist necessarily as well. Finally, teleological considerations show that God is necessarily endowed with intelligence and wisdom. In addition, God has, though not with metaphysical necessity, all the moral perfections, whose nature is the same in the divine being as in humans.

Clarke rejected the view of God as substantially removed from space and time. Divine eternity involves both necessary existence and infinite duration. Rather traditionally, the former consists in the fact that God contains the reason (but not the cause) of his own existence. The latter, however, cannot be identified with the traditional view that God exists in an unchanging permanent present without any succession since, like Newton, he considered such a position unintelligible. Consequently, Clarke attributed distinct and successive thoughts to God, as he perceived these as preconditions of the will. Hence, God is immutable with respect to his will and his general and particular decrees only in the sense that the divine being does not change his mind. However, as Clarke also made clear in his exchanges with Joseph Butler, God is not in space and time.

Clarke's criticism of the Scholastic view of divine immensity or omnipresence was analogous to that concerning eternity: the claim that the immensity of God is a point, as his eternity is an instant is, he held, unintelligible. However, while for Clarke God's temporal presence is analogous to humans' at least in involving temporal succession, his views about God's spatial presence were somewhat less clear because he did not explicitly state whether he adopted holenmerism (the view that the divine substance is whole in the whole of space and whole in each and every part) or the view that God is dimensionally extended. Nevertheless, there is evidence that he held the latter view. For Clarke vigorously denied Leibniz's charge that extension is incompatible with divine simplicity, because it introduces parts in God, without making any reference to holenmerism, and in addition he did not defend holenmerism from More's famous critique. Finally, Collins mentions him with Thomas Turner (16451714) and More as supporters of the dimensional extension of God.

For Clarke, divine eternity and immensity are to be identified with space and time. Usually, he held that space and time are just divine properties. However, in his fourth letter he also told Leibniz that, in addition, they are necessary effects of God's existence and necessary requirements for divine eternity and ubiquity, without supplying any argument to show that these different accounts are equivalent or even compatible. At other times, as in the letter to Daniel Waterland (16831740) and in the Avertissement to Pierre Des Maizeaux (16731745), in the latter of which Newton had more than a hand, he held that they are not, strictly speaking, properties.

As Leibniz and an anonymous correspondent (almost certainly Waterland) readily noted, echoing Bayle's critique of Newton and Malebranche, the identification of divine immensity with space endangers the simplicity of the divine being because space has parts, albeit not separable ones. Clarke's solution was to claim parity between spatial and temporal extendedness: Since the former is compatible with the simplicity of what "stretches" temporally, the latter is compatible with the simplicity of what stretches spatially. In addition, from the fact that the divine consciousness is extended, one should not infer that it is proper to talk about it in terms of spatial parts any more than it is to talk of the spatial parts of an instant of time although, as Newton had noted in the General Scholium to book 3 of Principia, an instant is the same everywhere.

Free Will

Clarke attached great importance to the issue of free will. He held that the highest form of freedom involves willing as one should, namely, having one's will in step with one's right values. He also believed that freedom of the will, or liberty, entails a libertarian power of self-determination (a point he emphasized against Leibniz's compatibilist views) and that it is a necessary condition both for that higher form of freedom and for religion. Thomas Hobbes's and Benedict (Baruch) de Spinoza's viewswhich in Clarke's mind Leibniz had de facto adoptedthat everything happens deterministically or necessarily destroys liberty. Against them he held that the causal version of the principle of sufficient reason in the cosmological argument shows that the necessary being on which the contingent world depends must have a libertarian will. For the notion of a necessary agent is contradictory, as agency involves the libertarian capacity of suspending action. Moreover, if God operated necessarily, things could not be different from how they are. But the number of planets, their orbits, indeed, the law of gravitation itself could have been different, as any reasonable person (but not Spinoza) could plainly see. Furthermore, the obvious presence of final causes indicates that divine activity follows not necessary but architectonic patterns.

Besides attacking necessitarianism and determinism with arguments drawn from general metaphysical considerations, Clarke criticized the Hobbesian view that volition is caused by one's last evaluative judgment and the Spinozistic position that the two are identical. He was ready to grant that the understanding is fully determined to assent to a proposition perceived as true in the same way in which an open eye is fully determined to see objects. In this sense the assent is necessary. However, he held, the necessity of the last evaluative judgment is totally immaterial to the issue of freedom. In his judgment, his opponents were guilty of basic philosophical errors. On the one hand, if they maintained that the content of the evaluation, the evaluative proposition, is identical with the volition or causes it, they were confusing reasons with causes. As he explained to Collins, the proposition "doing X is better than doing Y" can provide a reason for action but cannot cause anything because it is an abstract entity. On the other hand, if Clarke's opponents maintained that not the evaluative proposition but one's perceiving or believing it is identical with, or a partial cause of, volition, then they were falling foul of a basic causal principle. Against Descartes, Clarke insisted that judging (assenting to what appears true and dissenting from what appears false) is not an action but a passion. But what is passive cannot cause anything active. So, there is no causal link between evaluation and volition. What causes the volition is the principle of action itself, which Clarke identified with the agent, that is, the spiritual substance.

Having shown that God is endowed with liberty, Clarke argued that humans are as well. Not involving qualities such as complete causal independence and self-existence, liberty is a power God can transfer to one. Furthermore, experience assures one that one has been granted liberty, since one's actions seem to one to be free, exactly as they would do on the supposition that one is really a free agent. Of course, he conceded, this does not amount to a strict demonstration; but denying that one has free will is on a par with denying the existence of the external world, a coherent but unreasonable option. The burden of proof, he felt, is not on the supporter of liberty, but on its denier.

Matter and the Laws of Nature

Clarke's views on matter are best seen in connection with his ideas about miracles. Like Joseph Glanville (16361680), Thomas Sprat (16351713), Robert Boyle, and Locke, he belonged to that group of English intellectuals associated with the Royal Society, who thought that miracles could be used as evidence for the claim that Christianity is the true religion. According to Clarke a miracle is a work effected in an unusual manner (by which he seems to have meant in a way not subsumable under the laws of nature) by God himself or some intelligent agent superior to man for the proof or evidence of some doctrine, or the attestation of the authority of some person. However, he claimed, "modern deists," noticing that nature is regular, have concluded that there are in matter certain absolutely inalterable laws or powers that render the course of nature unchangeable and therefore miracles impossible.

The deistic view, Clarke argued, is completely wrong. Everything that is done in the world is done either immediately by God himself or by sentient beings; matter is not capable of any laws or powers whatsoever, except for the negative power of inertia. Consequently, the apparent effects of the natural powers of matterthe laws of motion, gravitation, or attractionare but the effects of God's acting on matter continually, either directly or through intelligent creatures. The course of nature, then, is just the divine will operating continuously and uniformly. This mode of operation is perfectly free and as easily altered as preserved at any time. Of course, Clarke admitted, the divine will infallibly follows necessarily correct judgments, and consequently God always acts on the basis of rules of "uniformity and proportion." However, given that the will, in God as in humans, is not causally determined by the understanding, the rules governing the ordinary power of God, a subset of which are the laws of nature, are freely self-imposed, and not the unavoidable result of the necessarily correct divine understanding. They are a manifestation of God's moral, and therefore free, attributes, not God's metaphysical, and therefore necessary, ones.

Clarke steadfastly maintained that matter has neither an essential nor an accidental power of self-motion. The first claim was common among early modern philosophers and held not only by the occasionalists but also by thinkers of different persuasions like Descartes, Locke, and Boyle. In fact, even Pierre Gassendi, who had upheld the notion of an active matter by claiming that atoms have an internal corporeal principle of action, had fallen short of claiming that they possess it essentially. Clarke's second claim, however, was more controversial. For although mechanists programmatically tried to substitute a nature made of inert particles for the living nature of Renaissance philosophy, the attempt soon ran into great difficulties. Strict mechanism proved inadequate to explain phenomena like exothermic reactions or the spring of the air, which causes a deflated closed balloon in a vacuum tube to expand. Consequently, mechanism was altered to include particles variously endowed with powers of motion, attraction, and repulsion.

Clarke's position on the activity of matter was radical: The various nonmechanical powers of particles are the result of direct divine or spiritual activity. He could not bring himself to accept active matter because he thought it a prelude to atheism. For, as noted earlier, he believed that denying divine continuous, direct intervention in nature in effect amounts to eliminating God, as John Toland had by endowing matter with essential self-motive powers. Clarke's views, however, had serious drawbacks. A God who is actually extended and constantly operates physically on matter looks suspiciously like the soul of the world, as Leibniz charged using Newton's identification in the Opticks of space as the sensorium of God. Similarly, the placement of gravitational forces within the purview of ordinary divine activity drew from Leibniz the accusation of obscurantism, a throwback to the quaint idea of angels causing the rotation of the spheres.

Space and Time

According to Clarke the ideas of space and time are the two first and most obvious simple ideas that exist. Like many of the philosophers who investigated the nature of space and time, he tended to produce arguments with regard to space, presumably leaving the reader to infer that parallel arguments could be drawn with respect to time. With Newton, he argued that while matter can be thought of as nonexisting, space exists necessarily because to suppose any part or the whole of space removed is to suppose it removed from and out of itself, namely taken away while it still remains, which is contradictory. Although space is not sensible, it is not nothingness, mere absence of matter, as it has properties such as quantity and dimensions. One might add other properties Clarke attributed to it, such as homogeneity, immutability, continuity, and, probably, impenetrability since bodies do not penetrate space but space penetrates them. For Clarke, space is also not an aggregate of its parts but presumably an essential whole preceding all it parts, a position motivated at least in part by the view that space is a divine property. As for Newton, space is necessarily infinite because limiting it is supposing it is bounded by something that itself takes up space or supposing it is bounded by other space, and both suppositions are contradictory.

Since absolute space has an essential and invariable structure independent of the bodies in it and is not altered by their presence, any possible world must conform to it, as creatures must be in space and God, whose power is limited to the metaphysically possible, cannot alter the essence of things. The same is true of time, which flows equably independently of anything in it. In short, in contrast to God all creatures occupy an absolute position in space and time that one may or may not be able to determine.

The introduction of absolute space, allegedly demanded by Newtonian physics, offered Clarke an immediate philosophical advantage in the fight against Spinoza. For it showed that the Cartesian identification of extension with matter, which had made possible Spinoza's excesses, was wronga consequence that was not lost on Bayle and was insisted on by Colin Maclaurin (16981746). Of course, the existence of absolute space introduced a new difficulty, that of its relation to God, but Clarke thought he had solved it by claiming that space and time are attributes of God or the result of divine existence.

The Soul

In 1706 Henry Dodwell (16411711) published a book in which he defended conditional immortality: One's soul is naturally mortal and following the death of the body can be kept in existence only by divine supernatural intervention. Clarke wrote an open letter to Dodwell complaining that he had opened the floodgates to libertinism by providing an excuse for the wicked not to fear eternal punishment. He then argued that the soul, being immaterial, is naturally immortal and gave his own version of the traditional argument for the immateriality of the soul from the alleged unity of consciousness, insisting that not even God could make matter conscious. Clarke's argument failed to convince Collins, who made no bones about his materialist leanings and intervened in defense of Dodwell. Clarke told Collins that if thinking in humans were a mode of matter, it would be natural to conceive that it may be the same in other beings. Then, Clarke continued, every thinking being, including God, would be ruled by the same absolute necessity governing the motion of a clock. The result would be the destruction of every possibility of self-determination and the undermining of the very foundations of religion.

Clarke's argument for the immateriality of the soul revolved around three basic claims. First, necessarily consciousness is an individual power, that is, each consciousness is one undivided entity, not a multitude of distinct consciousnesses added together. Second, an individual power cannot result from, or inhere in, a divisible substance; or, alternatively, an individual power can only be produced by, or inhere in, an individual being. Third, matter is not, and cannot possibly be, an individual being. The conclusion is that consciousness cannot possibly be the product of, or inhere in, matter.

For Clarke, although the soul is necessarily immaterial, it can causally affect the body because material qualities such as figure and mobility are deficiencies or imperfections that can be brought about by consciousness, which is a positive quality; moreover, one experiences the causal power by which one moves one's body. However, his position on whether the body causally affects the soul was less than clear. At times he leaned toward the view that it does, and at other times that it does not.

According to Clarke the soul is in space and is extended. As he eventually told Leibniz, the soul is in a particular place, the sensorium, which a part of the brain occupies. Clarke inferred the presence of the soul in the sensorium through an argument employing two independent premises: first, that something can act only where it is substantially, and second, that the soul interacts with the body. The conclusion is that the soul is substantially present where (at least) a part of the body is.

Saying that the soul must be substantially present where a part of the brain is does not fully determine how the soul is present. It rules out mere Cartesian operational presence, but it fails to determine whether the soul's presence is to be understood in terms of holenmerism or in terms of dimensional extension. However, there is cumulative evidence that for Clarke the soul is merely coextended with a part of the brain. Clarke used an analogy with space, which he took to be both extended and indivisible, to explain how the soul could be extended and indivisible; but holenmerism does not apply to space. He did not address Leibniz's accusation that the extension of the soul destroys its unity by appealing to holenmerism; rather, he defended the claim that the soul "fills" the sensorium. In sum, Clarke's views on freedom, with their ties to morality and religion, together with his views on causality, pushed him toward the thesis that the soul is extended.

Ethics and Revealed Religion

Although some of his sermons contain interesting analyses of individual Christian virtues, the most sustained exposition of Clarke's ethics is contained in A Discourse concerning the Unalterable Obligations of Natural Religion and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation, his second set of Boyle Lectures. Clarke started by stating that clearly there are different relations among persons and that from these relations there arises a "fitness" or "unfitness" of behavior among persons. So, for example, given the relation of infinite disproportion between humans and God, it is fit that one honors, worships, and imitates the Lord. In other words, from certain eternal and immutable factual relations among persons there arise certain eternal and immutable obligations, which in their broad features can be rationally apprehended by anyone with a sound mind, although in some particularly complex cases one may be at a loss in clearly demarcating right from wrong. For Clarke, being grounded in necessary relations, morality, like geometry, is universal and necessary. As such, it is independent of any will, be it divine or human, and of any consideration of punishment or reward as anyone, but not Hobbes, can plainly see. So, Clarke's view thus far can be characterized as a variety of rationalist deontology.

For Clarke, morality has three main branches: dealing with duties toward God, other humans, and oneselfall grounded in the notion of fitness. Duties toward others are governed by equity, which demands that one deals with other persons as one can reasonably expect others to deal with oneself, and by love, which demands that one furthers the happiness of all persons. Duties toward oneself demand that one preserves one's life and spiritual well-being so as to be able to perform one's duties. Suicide, then, is wrong.

Since God's will is uncorrupted by self-interest or passion, divine volitions and moral commands are extensionally equivalent. Hence, God wants one to follow morality, and such a desire is manifested in laws God has set up. But since laws require sanctions, and since such sanctions are not uniformly present in this life, moral laws are associated with reward and punishment in the next life. Moreover, human depravity makes the prospect of future sanctions a necessary incentive for proper behavior.

However, Clarke seemed prepared to go further, claiming against the Stoics and his beloved Cicero that in one's present state virtue is not the highest good (this being happiness) and that consequently it would be unreasonable, not just psychologically difficult, to lay down one's life for the sake of duty. Virtue, Clarke claimed, is not happiness but only a means to it, as in a race running is not itself the prize but the way to obtain it. The present sorry state of humankind, beset by ignorance, prejudice, and corrupt passions, renders divine revelation necessary, contrary to what deists think, and therefore the remaining lectures are mainly devoted to establishing the reliability of the Gospels.

Clarke's theory was criticized on several grounds. He never quite explained the nature of the relations among persons that ground morality, leaving both his followers and detractors to argue inconclusively about it. Hume famously charged Clarke's theory with motivational impotence because the intellectual perception of fitness cannot, alone, move the will. Matthew Tindal, who devoted chapter fourteen of his Christianity as Old as the Creation to an analysis of Clarke's ethics, noted that Clarke's rationalist strand hardly fits with his insistence on the need for Christian revelation, since his arguments establishing the reliability of scripture seem to require much more intellectual effort than the apprehension of one's moral duties. Even more pointedly, Tindal, who approved Leibniz's claim that the Chinese should send missionaries in natural theology and its subsequent morality to Europe, noted that revelation is neither necessary nor sufficient for proper moral behavior even for common people.

See also Arius and Arianism; Bayle, Pierre; Berkeley, George; Boyle, Robert; Butler, Joseph; Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Collins, Anthony; Deism; Descartes, René; Determinism and Freedom; Gassendi, Pierre; Hume, David; Laws of Nature; Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm; Locke, John; Malebranche, Nicolas; Matter; Miracles; More, Henry; Newton, Isaac; Pascal, Blaise; Renaissance; Rohault, Jacques; Space; Spinoza, Benedict (Baruch) de; Stoicism; Time; Tindal, Matthew; Toland, John; Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet de.


works by clarke

Works of Samuel Clarke (1738). 4 vols. New York: Garland, 1978. This contains all of Clarke's published works.

A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God and Other Writings, edited by Ezio Vailati. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. This offers a selection of passages relevant to Clarke's first Boyle Lecture besides the lecture itself.

works about clarke

Ariew, Roger, ed. Correspondence: G. W. Leibniz and Samuel Clarke. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2000. This contains Clarke's famous exchange with Leibniz.

Attfield, Robin. "Clarke, Collins, and Compounds." Journal of the History of Philosophy 15 (1977): 4554.

Attfield, Robin. "Clarke, Independence, and Necessity." British Journal for the History of Philosophy 1 (2) (1993): 6782.

Ducharme, Howard. "Personal Identity in Samuel Clarke." Journal of the History of Philosophy 24 (1986): 359383.

Ferguson, James P. Dr. Samuel Clarke: An Eighteenth Century Heretic. Kineton, U.K.: Roundwood Press, 1976.

Ferguson, James P. The Philosophy of Dr. Samuel Clarke and Its Critics. New York: Vantage Press, 1974.

Force, James. "Samuel Clarke's Four Categories of Deism, Isaac Newton, and the Bible." In Scepticism in the History of Philosophy: A Pan-American Dialogue, edited by Richard H. Popkin, 5374. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic, 1996.

Gay, John. "Matter and Freedom in the Thought of Samuel Clarke." Journal of the History of Ideas 24 (1963): 85105.

Hoskin, Michael "Causality and Free Will in the Controversy between Collins and Clarke." Journal of the History of Philosophy 25 (1987): 5167.

Hoskin, Michael "Mining All Within: Clarke's Notes to Rohault's Traite de Physique." The Thomist 24 (1961): 253263.

Le Rossignol, James E. The Ethical Philosophy of Samuel Clarke. Leipzig, Germany: n.p., 1892.

Rowe, William L. The Cosmological Argument. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

Stewart, Larry. "Samuel Clarke, Newtonianism, and the Factions of Post-revolutionary England." Journal of the History of Ideas 42 (1981): 5371.

Vailati, Ezio. Leibniz and Clarke: A Study of Their Correspondence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Whiston, William. Historical Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Samuel Clarke. London: N.p., 1730.

Yolton, John W. Thinking Matter: Materialism in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.

Ezio Vailati (2005)

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Clarke, Samuel (1675–1729)

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