Henry More

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Henry More, the philosopher, poet, and Cambridge Platonist, was born at Grantham, Lincolnshire. His father, "a gentleman of fair estate and fortune," was a strict Calvinist but supported church and king against the Puritans. He introduced his son to Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, and Spenser's Platonism, allegorizing, and moral attitudes persist in More's own writings. At Eton, where More was educated, the religious atmosphere was latitudinarian; More abandoned the Calvinist doctrine of predestination without losing what he called "an inward sense of the divine presence." In December 1631 he entered Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was elected to a fellowship in 1639. He remained at Cambridge until his death, refusing preferments, except those he could pass on to such fellow Platonists as Edward Fowler and John Worthington. Unlike most of the Platonists he took no part in public affairs or in university administration. In An Explanation of the Grand Mystery of Godliness (1660) he defended what he called a "neutrality and cold indifference in public affairs."

When More entered Christ's College, it was split into three factionsthe high church party, the Calvinistic Puritans, and the Medians, so called because they stood for a moderate church and had as their leader Joseph Mede, or Mead (15861638), author of Clavis Apocalyptica (1627), an allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. More's tutor Robert Gell, whose Remaines were published in 1676, was a member of Mede's party; he emphasized even more strongly than Mede that salvation depended upon "good works," not on blind faith, and he shared Mede's fascination with demonology and Scriptural interpretation. More himself described Mede as an "incomparable interpreter of Prophecies," and in The Grand Mystery of Godliness defends his biblical interpretations against the criticisms of Hugo Grotius.


Developing a passion for philosophy, More read widely in Aristotle and the Scholastics. However, he became impatient with their failure, as he thought, to provide a satisfactory account of the relation between God and the individual self. He therefore turned to the Neoplatonists and to mystical writings, especially the Theologia Germanica, an anonymous fourteenth-century mystical handbook that Martin Luther republished in 1516. From the mystics and Neoplatonists More derived his belief that to acquire knowledge, one must first seek moral perfection and his definition of perfection as the process of becoming godlike by subduing egoism. More did not refer to Benjamin Whichcote, none of whose writings was published until just before More's death, but he told his biographer that 1637 was the date of his conversion to his "new way of thinking"; this was the year of Whichcote's appointment as Sunday lecturer at Trinity Church. More shared certain fundamental epistemological and metaphysical ideas with Ralph Cudworth. These were ultimately derived from Platonism, and how far Cudworth's formulation of them influenced More or vice versa is impossible to determine.

More's first philosophical writings were allegories in Spenser's manner, collected in 1647 as Philosophical Poems. They present a complicated world view in which the basic concepts of Neoplatonism are interpreted in Trinitarian terms. Christ is presented as a living demonstration that a human being can be wholly possessed by God, rather than as a Calvinistic redeemer. More's poems preach the lesson common to Cambridge Platonism that the life we live, not the creed we preach, is our path to salvation, but their obscure allegorical manner is quite remote from Whichcote's direct, epigrammatic style.


In atmosphere the Philosophical Poems carry us back to the Renaissance. More saw Plato through the eyes of Plotinus and Plotinus through the eyes of Renaissance humanists such as Marsilio Ficino, who set out with the help of allegory to Christianize Neoplatonic metaphysics. Yet on December 11, 1648, More wrote the first of four Latin letters to René Descartes, in which he not only expressed the highest admiration for Descartes's work but added that Descartes's views "appear indeed to be my ownso entirely have my own thoughts run along the channels in which your fertile mind has anticipated me." Nor was this a merely transient enthusiasm. In the general preface to his A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662), he still spoke with admiration of Descartes. Yet in the Divine Dialogues (1668) and even more severely in Enchiridion Metaphysicum (1671) More criticized "the superstitious admiration" for Descartes and alleged that his views led to atheism, a charge against which he had previously defended Descartes.

Not surprisingly, More's French critics accuse him of irresponsible fickleness. But if Enchiridion Metaphysicum is the first of More's writings to be officially an anti-Cartesian tract, the fact remains, as Descartes realized from the beginning but More only slowly, that More's leading ideas had always been in complete opposition to Cartesianism. The central point in More's metaphysics as it is developed in The Immortality of the Soul (1659) and the metaphysical sections of Divine Dialogues and Enchiridion Metaphysicum is that extension is a characteristic of all substances and not, as Descartes had argued, a peculiarity of matter. Substances fall into two classesspirits and material objects. Spirits are physically indivisible, can penetrate both other spirits and material objects, and can initiate motion; material objects are physically divisible, impenetrable, and capable of motion only when it has been communicated to them. But both spirits and material objects are extended. There are familiar objections to such an ontology; these concern, particularly, the compatibility of the two properties of being extended and being spiritual. In meeting these objections, More began by making two logical points. The first is that since we are never acquainted with essences but only with attributes, it is no objection to the extendedness of thinking beings that we "cannot see why" a being which thinks should also be extended. The second is that the intellectual separability of the properties of being extended and being spiritual is no proof of their incompatibility.

More's opponents have to show, he argued, that it is logically impossible for anything to be extended and yet to think. Most of the arguments that are supposed to establish this impossibility depend, according to More, upon the tacit identification of extension and materiality; the rest can be met by distinguishing between two forms of extensionmetaphysical and physical. Metaphysical extensionpure spaceis eternal, infinite, physically indivisible; physical extensions are finite, physically divisible, mutable. We can break up a particular cylinder, and we can easily imagine it not to exist, but we cannot take a piece out of space or imagine it not to exist. These properties it shares with God; indeed, space is an "obscure representation of the essence or essential presence of the divine being."

More came to see in Descartes the leader of what he calls the nullibists, who deny extension to spirits. And although Descartes had set out to defend God and immortalitythis was one main reason why More approved of himMore finally concluded that nullibism is atheistic in tendency. For More the essential feature of the soul is that it initiates movement. To do this, however, it must be where body is. This is possible because unlike material objects spirits can penetrate both other spirits and material objects, contracting or expanding like Isaac Newton's "aether," as the occasion makes necessary. Thus, God, an individual mind, and a material object can all be present in the one place without losing their independence as substances. Spirit can be regarded, More argued, as a sort of fourth dimension; a body that contains a spirit has a certain "spissitude," or density of substances.

More's criticism of mechanical explanation is along the same general lines. At first, he had welcomed Descartes's mechanical explanations; by carrying ingenuity, so More thought, as far as it could be carried, they made it clear just what the limits of mechanical explanation were. But his conclusion is that mechanical explanation is never possible and that to suppose otherwise leads to atheism. (The emergence of Benedict de Spinoza from the Cartesian school encouraged More in this belief.)

A material object, he said, is nothing but a "congeries of physical monads"that is, a collection of atomic particles. To explain how these particles are held together in solid objects, we have to introduce a nonmaterial, although spatial, spiritual agent. Equally, he argued, gravity is inexplicable in mechanical terms; mechanicshe meant, of course, Cartesian mechanicscannot explain why a bullet once fired from a gun should ever return to Earth's surface. Even more obviously, the behavior of living organisms cannot be derived from a collection of particles.

Indeed, in order to explain any natural process, we have to refer to spirit as something additional to material particles; spirits are the true cause of all activity. This does not mean that all activity is the work of conscious rational beings. Spirit exists at various levels; "seminal forms," which are neither sensitive nor rational but are still capable of initiating motion, are responsible for actions at a level lower than animal feeling.

Religion and Ethics

More's metaphysical theories are not worked out in detail. His main interests, indeed, were religious rather than metaphysical: to defend Christianity against its three main enemiesnamely, atheists, Roman Catholics, and "enthusiasts." An Antidote against Atheism (1653) reformulates the Ontological Argument but mainly relies upon anecdotes about animals to establish an Argument from Design and upon anecdotes about witches and apparitions to establish that spiritual forces are at work in the world. Conjectura Cabbalistica (1653), with the aid of the Jewish kabbalah, discerns Platonism and Cartesianism in Genesis; indeed, More expressed his regret that he had ever wasted his time on philosophy seeing that all fundamental truths are contained in the Bible. A Brief Discourse of the Nature, Causes, Kinds and Cure of Enthusiasm (1656) is directed against "enthusiasm," defined as "a full but false persuasion in a man that he is inspired." More found the origin of enthusiasm in "melancholy"that is, in a manicdepressive constitution. The Grand Mystery of Godliness defends the Cambridge Platonist concept of religion against Calvinists, atheists, and Roman Catholics alike; An Antidote against Idolatry (1674) attacks Roman Catholics. More had a special animosity against Quakers that increased in intensity when his disciple and admirer Anne Finch, Lady Conway, at whose home in Ragley, Warwickshire, he had been a frequent guest, became a convert to Quakerism.

More's Enchiridion Ethicum (1667), translated into English by Edward Southwell in 1690 with the appropriate title An Account of Virtue, was the most popular of More's writings in his own time but has since been neglected. It can be most succinctly described as a Christian version of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, although the detail is influenced by Descartes's account of the passions and by mathematical ideals. (More set out a number of "moral axioms," which incorporate an ethical calculus.) Virtue, More argued, consists in pursuing what seems to be in accordance with right reason, but both our capacity to discover what actions accord with reason and our inclination toward those actions flow from a special "boniform" faculty. Reason itself cannot incite action; virtuous action can be instigated only by the passional side of our nature. The ultimate ground of all virtue is intellectual love. Thus, More hoped to weld the Christian doctrine of love and the Aristotelian doctrine of intellectual activity into a single ethical system.


More devoted the last seven years of his life to translating his English works into Latin in the hope of attracting wider interest on the Continent. They caught the attention of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, but although he took an occasional phrase from More, he was interested in him mainly as a representative of the sort of view he particularly wished to avoid. In fact, More, the only one of the Cambridge Platonists to publish at all extensively, quite failed in what he conceived as his main taskto halt the advance of the mechanical worldview. More's metaphysics, however, had a considerable influence on Newton even if mathematicians, not metaphysicians, were Newton's principal masters. Newton did not refer explicitly to Morethe Cambridge group almost never referred to one anotherbut the resemblances are conspicuous. Newton was taught mathematics at Grantham, More's birthplace, by a former pupil of More's; Newton's correspondence reveals that he and More stood close to one another.

See also Cambridge Platonists.


works by more

More's Philosophical Poems are reprinted in Alexander Balloch Grosart, The Complete Poems of Henry More (Blackburn, U.K, 1878). Geoffrey Bullough, Philosophical Poems of Henry More (Manchester, U.K.: University of Manchester, 1931), is a selection with a valuable introduction and notes. More's main philosophical writings are included in A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (London, 1662) and his theological writings in Theological Works (London, 1708); the Latin version, Opera Omnia (London, 16751679), contains in addition a number of controversial pamphlets. Sections of the Enchiridion Metaphysicum were translated by Joseph Glanvill in his Saducismus Triumphatus (London, 1681) and are included in Flora Isabel MacKinnon, Philosophical Writings of Henry More (New York: Oxford University Press, 1925), with a useful bibliography and expository essays. Edward Southwell's translation of Enchiridion Ethicum has been reprinted by the Facsimile Text Society (New York, 1930). The correspondence with Descartes is partly translated by Leonora D. Cohen in Annals of Science 1 (1) (1936): 4861, and is included in Geneviève (Rodis-)Lewis, Correspondance avec Arnaud et Morus (Paris, 1953).

works on more

For works on More see the bibliography under the "Cambridge Platonists" entry. See also Richard Ward, The Life of Dr. H. More (London, 1710); M. F. Howard has edited this life, but his introduction is not reliable (London, 1911). See also Marjorie Nicolson, ed., The Conway Letters (London: Oxford University Press, 1930), and Paul Russell Anderson, Science in Defense of Liberal Religion (New York and London: Putnam, 1933). For More's relation to Newton see Edwin Arthur Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science (London: Kegan Paul Trench and Trubner, 1925; rev. ed., 1950), and Alexandre Koyrė, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1957). On the opposite side see Edward William Strong, Procedures and Metaphysics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1936), and Stephen Edelston Toulmin, "Criticism in the History of Science: Newton on Absolute Space, Time and Motion," in Philosophical Review 68 (1) (1959): 130, and (2) (1959): 203228.

Other Recommended Sources

Almond, Philip C. "The Journey of the Soul in Seventeenth-Century English Platonism." History of European Ideas 13 (6) (1991): 775791.

Armstrong, Robert L. Metaphysics and British Empiricism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970.

Burnham, Frederic B. "The More-Vaughan Controversy: The Revolt against Philosophical Enthusiasm." Journal of the History of Ideas 35 (1974): 3349.

Coudert, Allison. "A Cambridge Platonist's Kabbalist Nightmare." Journal of the History of Ideas 36 (1975): 633652.

Daniel, Stephen. "Berkeley's Pantheistic Discourse." International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 49 (3) (2001): 179194.

Gabbey, Alan. "Philosophia Cartesiana Triumphata: Henry More." In Problems of Cartesianism, edited by Thomas M. Lennon, John M. Nicholas, and John W. Davis. Montreal: McGill Queens, 1982.

Hutton, Sarah. "Henry More and Anne Conway on Preexistence and Universal Salvation." In Mind Senior to the World, edited by Marialuisa Baldi. Milano: FrancoAngeli, 1996.

Jacob, Alexander. "The Metaphysical Systems of Henry More and Isaac Newton." Philosophia Naturalis 29 (1) (1992): 6993.

Osler, Margaret J. "Triangulating Divine Will: Henry More, Robert Boyle, and Rene Descartes on God's Relationship to the Creation." In Mind Senior to the World, edited by Marialuisa Baldi. Milano: FrancoAngeli, 1996.

Patrides, C. A. The Cambridge Platonists. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1980.

Power, J. E. "Henry More and Isaac Newton on Absolute Space." Journal of the History of Ideas 31 (1970): 289296.

Reid, Jasper. "Henry More on Material and Spiritual Extension." Dialogue 42 (3) (2003): 531558.

Rogers, G. A. J. "Hobbes's Hidden Influence." In Perspectives on Thomas Hobbes, edited by G. A. J. Rogers and Alan Ryan. New York: Clarendon Oxford, 1988.

Sprague, Elmer. "Hume, Henry More and the Design Argument." Hume Studies 14 (1988): 305327.

Staudenbaur, C. A. "Galileo, Ficino, And Henry More's Psychathanasia." Journal of the History of Ideas 29 (1968): 565578.

John Passmore (1967)

Bibliography updated by Tamra Frei (2005)

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MORE, HENRY (16141687)

MORE, HENRY (16141687), English philosopher. Henry More was the most prolific of the group of seventeenth-century thinkers known as the Cambridge Platonists. Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, he was educated at Eton College and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was elected fellow in 1641. Despite living through one of the most turbulent periods in English history, More retained his fellowship at Christ's during the English Civil War, Interregnum (16481660), and Restoration, devoting himself to a life of scholarship and publishing many works of philosophy and theology.

In his day More came to be regarded as one of England's leading contemporary philosophers. One of the first proponents of Cartesianism, he attacked Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza and was an enthusiast for the new science of Galileo and the Royal Society. His own philosophy owes much to Plato and Plotinus and is largely dedicated to the defense of religious belief against the twin forces of skepticism and atheism. Central to it is his philosophy of spirit, which underpins his arguments for demonstrating the existence and providential nature of God. More accounted for the operations of nature through his hypothesis of the Spirit of Nature or principium hylarchicum, analogous to Plato's world soul (anima mundi). His Platonism, first evident in his earliest writings, his Philosophical Poems (1647), was developed more fully in his Of the Immortality of the Soul (1659) and Enchiridion Metaphysicum (1671; Manual of metaphysics), in which he propounds the idea for which he is probably best known today: his concept of infinite space.

After repudiating predestinarian Calvinism in his youth, More subscribed to a tolerant Christianity that influenced the latitudinarian movement, which took a tolerant stance on doctrinal matters within the Church of England. Although he conformed at the Restoration (1660), he was nevertheless regarded as heterodox in High Church circles, principally on account of his adherence to Origen's doctrine of the preexistence of the soul. In his later years More was much preoccupied with the study of biblical prophecy and the Cabala, sharing this last interest with Franciscus Mercurius von Helmont (15791644) and the German scholar Christian Knorr von Rosenroth (16361689).

More's most famous pupil was Anne Conway (16311679), who owed her introduction to philosophy to him. Among those who came under his influence were the clergyman Joseph Glanvill (16361680), the philosopher John Norris (16571711), and the naturalist John Ray (16271705). He was also known to Isaac Newton and to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

See also Cabala ; Calvinism ; Cambridge Platonists ; Cartesianism ; Philosophy .


Primary Sources

More, Henry. A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings. Cambridge, U.K., 1662. Reprinted 1978.

. H. Mori Cantabrigiensis Opera Omnia. London, 16751679. Latin translation of all More's theological and philosophical works.

Nicolson, Marjorie H., ed. Conway Letters: The Correspondence of Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More and Their Friends, 164284. Revised by Sarah Hutton. Oxford, 1992. Important for biography and context.

Secondary Sources

Cassirer, Ernst. The Platonic Renaissance in England. Translated by James P. Pettegrove. Austin, 1953.

Hall, Rupert. Henry More: Magic, Religion and Experiment. Oxford, 1990. Biography with emphasis on history of science.

Hutton, Sarah, ed. Henry More, 16141687: Tercentenary Studies. Dordrecht, Netherlands, 1990. Articles providing the fullest coverage of the range of More's interests. Best bibliography of More.

Koyré, Alexandre. From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. Baltimore, 1957. More, Newton, and infinite space.

Sarah Hutton

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(b. Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, October 1614; d. Cambridge, England, 1 September 1687)

philosophy, theology.

The youngest child of Alexander More, a fairly prosperous gentleman and several times mayor of Grantham, Henry More was educated at Grantham School, Eton, and Christ’s College, Cambridge, from which he graduated B.A. in 1636. In 1639 he received the M.A., took orders, and was appointed a fellow of his college—which position he held, refusing preferment, all his life. More became doctor of divinity in 1660 and was elected fellow of the Royal Society on 25 May 1664. (He had been among the original fellows under the first charter but was omitted when the Society was refounded.)

In theology More was a moderate latitudinarian, known for piety and an almost saintly nature. He wrote extensively against sectarians and enthusiasts, for their uncharitable doctrinal wrangling and their depreciation of reason in religion, and against the Roman Catholic Church, on the usual contemporary grounds. He concerned himself particularly with the interpretation of prophetic and apocalyptic Scriptures.

In the history of philosophy More is counted among the Cambridge Platonists. His “Platonism” was rather vague and highly eclectic; its basic themes were those of the middle Platonists and Neoplatonists, and he found them in a great variety of ancient thinkers, including Democritus, Hermes Trismegistus, and Moses. The central point is the primacy of spirit over matter. Dissatisfaction with the scholastic fare of his undergraduate studies led More to turn briefly to the ascetic-mystical side of Neoplatonism: true knowledge requires spiritual purification, and devotion is more important than learning. Both doctrines were soon greatly moderated, as his bent for philosophy (including natural philosophy) reasserted itself. Under the influence of the Theologia Germanica, More came to emphasize moral goodness over asceticism; and the “spiritual purification” idea had little real effect on his mature writings, unless in a certain tendency to overrate the rational perspicuity of arguments which have edifying conclusions.

A factor in More’s return to philosophy was his discovery, sometime before 1647, of Descartes, whose writings seemed to show how to combine a scientific interest in nature with a primary concern for vindi-cating the reality of God and immortal human souls. This suited More admirably: his interest in the new experimental philosophy was genuine (he was the only fellow of the Royal Society among the Cambridge Platonists), but he conceived his main philosophical mission to be the refutation of mechanistic materialism.

Appropriately, More’s first major work was An Antidote Against Atheisme (1652), one of the most prominent early responses to Thomas Hobbes. The first part of this three-part work is primarily an elaboration of the ontological argument as found in Descartes. The second part enumerates a great range of natural phenomena that can be understood only as showing a divine providence. This section provided the structure and core John Ray’s Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation, and thus considerably influenced the subsequent tradition of scientifically elaborated teleological arguments. Two points should be noted, however. First, relatively little of More’s argumentation really depends on contemporary science; the majority of his examples had been, or could have been, used in antiquity. Second, the comparison with machinery (such as the watch) is not made. The emphasis is, rather, on the usefulness to man or other creatures of various features of nature, and on phenomena which show the working of immaterial substances, such as an unintelligent “spirit of nature” which can be invoked to account for botches in nature as well as for phenomena (such as gravity and the formation of animals) which cannot be explained mechanically. The relation between this “spirit of nature” and the intelligent Designer remains unclear, but just showing the reality of spiritual agents is what More really cares about. Thus it is perfectly in accord with his design when he devotes the third part of his treatise to stories of witches, hauntings, and so on. These direct empirical evidences of the activities of spirits should convince those on whom the arguments of the first two sections are lost.

More’s opposition to mechanism eventually led him to a repudiation (in large part) of Descartes and a sad skirmish with Robert Boyle. In his early enthusiasm he had been instrumental in introducing Cartesian philosophy to England; but an unsatisfactory correspondence with Descartes, further reflection on his metaphysical principles, and observation of the path taken by Spinoza and other Cartesians convinced More that there were great dangers in Cartesianism. More was persuaded that to be, a thing must be somewhere; Descartes’s identification of matter with extension thus seemed to exclude spirits (including God) from reality. Therefore, in The Immortality of the Soul (1659) and Enchiridion metaphysicum (1671) More argued at length that spirits are extended. The defining characteristic of body is not extension but impenetrability and physical divisibility (“discerpibility”); spirits, More deduced, are by definition “indiscerpible” and capable of penetrating themselves, other spirits, and matter. He adds that bodies are passive and spirits are capable of initiating activity. If spirits are extended, God in particular is (infinitely) extended. More does not flinch from this consequence but, listing a long series of properties predicable both of God and of space, concludes that absolute space is an attribute of the substance, God; it is the medium in which God acts upon bodies.

The Immortality of the Soul is actually an elaborate treatise on the nature, kinds, and habits of spirits—by far More’s most systematic work—in which many doctrines of Descartes and others are criticized. It defies summary.

More consistently argued that gravity, magnetism, and various of Boyle’s experimental results in hydro-statics could not be accounted for mechanistically. In the Enchiridion metaphysicum he treated the latter point in detail, attempting with physical as well as metaphysical arguments to refute Boyle’s inter-pretation of his own experiments. Boyle found it necessary to demolish More’s efforts, carefully adding that one could be a great scholar without being a good hydrostatician. He patiently corrected More’s mistakes, pointed out that a mechanical explanation is one based on the laws of mechanics and need not (for instance) specify the cause of gravity, and suggested that the watchmaker version of the design argument is more effective than any that resort to such dubious entities as the spirit of nature. More was rather hurt but eager to maintain their friendship. Unlike Descartes, the Royal Society and its virtuosos were never even partially repudiated by More, who distinguished sharply between their “experimental philosophy” and the “mechanical philosophy” he combated.

The exchange with Boyle shows that More’s grasp of the new natural philosophy was limited. His interest was genuine, but he was himself no virtuoso. His main contributions lay in introducing generations of students to Descartes, in lending to the Royal Society the prestige of his great reputation for learning and piety, and (arguably) in his influence upon Newton. The nature and extent of that influence are hard to assess. It appears that More and Newton were well acquainted and perhaps close. More left Newton a funeral ring; a letter survives in which he good-humoredly reports to a friend that Newton stubbornly clings to a misinterpretation of a passage in the Apocalypse, which More thought he had corrected; Newton informs a correspondent that he had “engaged Dr More to be of” a “Philosophick Meeting” then proposed at Cambridge. E. A. Burtt and A. Koyré have argued powerfully that More influenced Newton’s views on space and on such matters as the (immaterial) cause of gravity. Certainly there are interesting parallels; other evidence for or against direct influence is, unfortunately, scarce.


I. Original Wokks. Philosophical Writings of Henry More, Flora I. MacKinnon, ed. (New York, 1925), contains a useful selection, with intro., extensive notes, and a bibliographv of works by and about More. For more recent bibliographical information see Aharon Lichtenstein, Henry More: The Rational Theology of a Cambridge Platonist (Cambridge, Mass., 1962).

II. Secondary Literature. Marjorie Nicolson, ed., Conway Letters (New Haven, 1930), has biographical information as well as letters. More’s views and their relation to those of Descartes and Newton are discussed by Edwin A. Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science (Garden City, N.Y., 1955), esp. 135–148; and Alexandre Koyrá, From the Closed world to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore, 1957), esp. 110–154, 190. On More’s relation to Hobbes, see Samuel I. Mintz, The Hunting of Leviathan (Cambridge, 1962), esp. 80–95; and on his relation to Boyle, see Robert A. Greene, “Henry More and Robert Boyle on the Spirit of Nature,” in Journal of the History of Ideas, 23 (1962), 451–474. Also of interest are C. A. Staudenbaur, “Galileo, Ficino, and Henry More’s Psychathanasia,” in Journal of the History of Ideas, 29 (1968), 565–578; and C. Webster, “Henry More and Descartes: Some New Sources,” in British Journal for the History of Science, 4 (1969), 359–377.

William H. Austin

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Henry More, 1614–87, English philosopher, one of the foremost representatives of the school of Cambridge Platonists. His writings emphasized the mystical and theosophic phases of that philosophy, and as he grew older mysticism dominated his writings. Newton studied under him, and his concept of space and time as "the sense organs of God" greatly influenced Newton's theory of absolute space and time. His chief works are Philosophical Poems (1647) and Divine Dialogues (1668).

See E. Cassirer, The Platonic Renaissance in England (tr. 1953); A. Lichtenstein, Henry More: The Rational Theology of a Cambridge Platonist (1962); G. R. Cragg, ed., The Cambridge Platonists (1985).

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