London: Printed by J.D. for John Baker...and Henry Mortlock,... 1676. First edition. The essays are: “Against Confidence in philosophy”; “Of Scepticism and Certainty”; “Modern Improvements of Knowledge”; “The Usefulness of Philosophy to Theology”; “The Agreement of Reason, and Religion”; “Against Sadducicism in the Matter of Witchcraft”; and “Anti-fanatical Religion and Free Philosophy." Seven essays, separately paged, each (except the first) with a divisional title-page. [xvi], 66; , 56; , 43, ; , 28; , 6, ; , 58, [3, advertisements] pp. Title within double rule border. Large wormhole in top left margin through first 32 leaves, wormholes in middle of book in lower inner margin, otherwise a good crisp copy. Contemporary calf, hinges of upper cover split at top and bottom but holding, bookplate of Dr William Sargant. Item #15972
The Anglican clergyman and controversialist Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680) is notable for having anticipated Hume’s sceptical views on causation. He was also a spirited defender of the scientific work of the Royal Society, which he saw as entirely consistent with the Christian faith. At the same time he believed ardently in the existence of witches and demons, and saw their denial by such as Hobbes and Spinoza as the first step towards atheism. All these facets of Glanvill’s thoughts are reflected in the essays published here. Norman 908 noting that the essay on “modern improvements” contains “reviews of several of Robert Boyle’s works and praises Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood ...” Norman also observes that Glanvill, in the sixth essay, “attempted to establish a scientific and philosophical basis for a belief in the supernatural and is generally considered to be the founder of psychical research.”.
Wing G. 809.