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Mary Shepherd’s Philosophy at 200

Thursday June 13, 2024, 2:00 pm - Friday June 14, 2024, 6:00 pm

Please join us for a two-day workshop on the philosophy of Mary Shepherd (1777-1847), co-organized by Jonny Cottrell and Donald Ainslie.

Mary Shepherd (1777–1847) was a Scottish philosopher who engaged with numerous scientific and philosophical issues of her era within an especially rich intellectual context. Dividing her time between Edinburgh and London, her intellectual network involved an impressive list of leading philosophical, literary and scientific figures. In her work she advocates a systematic metaphysics and theory of knowledge highly regarded by her contemporaries. Well versed in the doctrines of leading eighteenth century British empiricists, she finds them unable to sustain scientific inquiry, everyday practical reasoning, and belief in an almighty deity. She aims to replace them with a theory of perceptual knowledge that is reliable and supported by reasons. She urges a theory on which sensation, the reception of impressions by means of the senses, and understanding, the ability to deploy ideas that represent entities distinct from impressions, work together to yield perceptual knowledge. In this respect, her system is more like that of Kant than those of her other predecessors. But her doctrines express a highly distinctive analysis of perception and the reality of its objects. Causality is the center of her metaphysical and epistemic systems.

Check back close to the event date for a detailed program and further information.



Thursday June 13, 2024, 2:00 pm
Friday June 14, 2024, 6:00 pm
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Jonathan Cottrell


Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100 & Room 418
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