Richard Cumberland and Natural Law represents the first major biographical sketch of Cumberland to appear in English. A critic and antagonist of Thomas Hobbes, a proto-Utilitarian and a man of the cloth, Richard Cumberland may be England’s least recognised seventeenth century polymath, often overshadowed by the likes of John Bramhall and John Wallis. His magnum opus, De Legibus Naturae (On Natural Laws) stands in quality amongst the greatest works of natural philosophy and ethics of his time period.
Here Kirk outlines Cumberland’s significant philosophical contributions as well as situating him in his intellectual and historical context. She describes his life, his work as Bishop of Peterborough, and his pioneering contributions to natural law theory. Kirk also includes a chapter on the various editions of Cumberland’s masterwork and the praise it received from his contemporaries. Richard Cumberland and Natural Law remains the foremost collection of biographical information of Richard Cumberland, as well as offering a comprehensive discussion of his theories.