William Molyneux

Darrell Jones (Trinity College Dublin)
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William Molyneux (1656-1698) was the leading practitioner of experimental science in early modern Ireland. He was also the inventor of “Molyneux’s Problem”, a seminal conundrum in the history of philosophy and psychology, and a politician who promoted the cause of Irish legislative autonomy. In all three areas, his impact on the emergence of Enlightenment ideas in eighteenth-century Ireland was profound.

Molyneux was born near Ormond Gate in Dublin on 17 April 1656. His family held a prominent position in the Irish Anglican elite. His father Samuel was a lawyer, soldier, and amateur mathematician who acquired estates in Limerick and Armagh in the land settlements of the Restoration. His mother Margaret was an expert musician and a prudent manager of her husband’s financial affairs.

2524 words

Citation: Jones, Darrell. "William Molyneux". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 August 2021 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=14771, accessed 22 June 2024.]

14771 William Molyneux 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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