Philosophical Writings of Thomas Cooper
'Thoemmes Press and Udo Thiel have combined their talents to resurrect the important but long ignored writings of Thomas Cooper. Cooper’s writings on materialism alone merit our attention, carrying forward as they do the issues and debates which ran throughout the 18th century. Cooper’s interests are about as diverse as those of Joseph Priestley. It is time for a re-evaluation of Cooper.’ — John Yolton
Thomas Cooper (1759-1839) is an important but much neglected early proponent of a radical materialist metaphysics. He adopted his materialism from his friend Joseph Priestley but differed from his master on a number of philosophical issues. Like Priestley, he emigrated to America in 1794, where he first practised as a lawyer in Pennsylvania, then taught chemistry at several colleges, before becoming president of South Carolina College, Columbia in 1820. Cooper had been associated with democratic clubs in England and had spent some time in Paris with affiliated French clubs during the Revolution. In America he joined the Democrats and vehemently opposed the administration of President Adams. In 1800 he was tried for libel and sentenced to 6 months in prison
Cooper's works are extremely scarce. His philosophical writings have not been reprinted since the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The first two volumes of this edition include his early and most important philosophical publication,Tracts, Ethical, Theological and Political(1789) and the second edition of his early political essays (1800). The third volume contains a selection of metaphysical and political essays from the 1820s and 30s. Udo Thiel's introduction gives an explanatory overview of Cooper's philosophy, placing it in its historical and intellectual context.
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