Anthony Ashley Cooper: Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times

(3381 words)
  • Daniel Floyd (University of Aberdeen)

Shaftesbury’s Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, a three-volume collection of essays on interrelated moral and aesthetic themes, was first published in 1711 and became one of the most influential books of the eighteenth-century. In it Shaftesbury put forward a philosophy founded upon his belief in the innateness of human virtue, a general tendency toward benevolence, and an aversion to injustice or cruelty. These ideas became central tenets of the Enlightenment and Shaftesbury’s writings had considerable influence on moral and aesthetic philosophy throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A second edition of the Characteristicks, with iconographic engravings by Simon Gribelin, appeared …

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Floyd, Daniel. "Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 June 2009
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]