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Our Research

The Cambridge Platonists at the origins of Enlightenment: texts, debates, and reception (1650-1730) 

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Prof. Douglas HedleyDr. David LeechDr. James BrysonDr. Mark BurdenDr. Christian HengstermannDr. Michael Hawkins – This project, is funded by an £833,472 AHRC research grant.





Early Modern Conversions  

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The ability to convert is uniquely human. When we awaken to a new faith, join a new political movement, or take on a new identity, we exercise our freedom to reinvent ourselves and also to become who we were always meant to be.

But what if conversion is really a leap into a false ideal, a con game, or something imposed on us by external forces?  We treasure the freedom to remake ourselves, but we are also troubled by our own changeability and impressionability. 

The Conversions project has brought together an international team of scholars and artists to study the first great Age of Conversion. From around 1400 to 1700, Europeans converted their religious, social, political, and even sexual identities—sometimes voluntarily, sometimes by force. 

People in the 21st century also live in a time of globalization and massive change that sees the uncontrolled growth of youth radicalization, conversion-centred violence, and a multi-billion-dollar personal transformation industry. 

The Conversions project brings historical scholarship and the creative arts to urgent questions that face us now as we enter the second great Age of Conversion.


Living Ideas: Dynamic Philosophies of Life and Matter, 1650–1850

2019-04-01 Living Ideas GrantThe Japan Society for the Promotion of Science is awarding a multi-year grant to "Living Ideas: Dynamic Philosophies of Life and Matter, 1650–1850", an international project running in collaboration with the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism. The project will study how dynamic philosophies from the Cambridge Platonists, through thinkers including Shaftesbury, Herder, and Kant, to post-Kantians such as Schelling, Hegel, and S. T. Coleridge, understood the existence, development, and variegated phenomena of matter and biological life from their respective, often inter-related, metaphysically idealist perspectives.




Newton International Fellowship newton international fellowships 2017

Dr. Adrian Mihai – The project, which is funded for two years by the British Academy (Newton International Fellowship), consists in providing the first critical edition of Ralph Cudworth’s ‘The True Intellectual System of the Universe’ (London: Richard Royston, 1678). Though Ralph Cudworth (1617-1688), leading figure of the Cambridge Platonists group, has been recognised in recent years as one of the most important British philosophers of the 17th-century, there is still no critical edition of his magnum opus that meets the standards of modern philology and that is up-to-date with research both in Classical and in Modern European thought (the last edition was published in 1845).