London: A. Millar over-against Catharine-Street in the Strand, 1750. First Edition. Full-Leather. Good / No Jacket. Item #2329633
First edition. ESTC T97621. Lacks spine label, boards rubbed, front joint split but holding firmly, rear joint beginning to split along crown, Stoneleigh Abbey bookplate on front paste-down endpaper, front free endpaper loose but included.
x, 280 pp. 8vo. Original full sheep, double gilt rules. Includes two fold-out plates, one of which illustrates celestial orbits. A companion to the 1745 two-volume work The Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul by Scottish metaphysician Andrew Baxter. That work was criticized by Benjamin Franklin for its misunderstanding of mechanics, but praised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Baxter criticizes John Toland, John Locke, and George Berkeley's views. "In October 1733 Baxter published the first edition of the work which established his reputation as one of Britain's leading exponents of Newtonian metaphysics, An Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul; he issued a second enlarged edition in 1737, and a third in 1745. Echoing the writings of Samuel Clarke, Baxter's basic thesis in the Enquiry was that matter is essentially inert and that all natural phenomena imply the constant action of an immaterial principle as well as the universal superintendence of a divine power. Like Clarke, Baxter was anxious to refute the views of atheists, deists, and materialists such as Lucretius, Thomas Hobbes, and Spinoza, who had all implied that matter is intrinsically active. Baxter also criticized John Locke's analysis of the soul, and warned against the sceptical consequences of George Berkeley's immaterialism. His critique of Berkeley was one of the first to appear in Britain, and it left its mark on Scottish metaphysicians like Thomas Reid. Along with his refutation of Berkeley, Baxter included a lengthy essay arguing that dreams were caused by the action of spiritual beings and, according to Warburton, Baxter's speculations on the subject undermined the credibility of the book as a whole... His last completed book, An Appendix to the First Part of the Enquiry (1750), appeared shortly after his death. Dedicated to Wilkes, the Appendix attacked the presentation of Newton's speculations regarding the existence of an ethereal medium in Colin Maclaurin's An Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophical Discoveries (1748) and replied to Maclaurin's criticism of a passage in Baxter's Matho." - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography