John Sergeant and his Circle

A Study of Three Seventeenth-Century English Aristotelians


This book presents an account of the essentially Aristotelian philosophy of John Sergeant (1623-1707) and his Blackloist colleagues, Kenelm Digby and Thomas White. Despite their notoriety as Catholic controversialists in the mid-seventeenth century, Sergeant and his circle have long suffered from historical neglect, and Professor Krook's work provides a useful corrective to conventional historiography.
Digby, White and Sergeant were all concerned to present a coherent philosophical and theological framework, which would provide some certainty in the face of the contemporary sceptical challenge, and the author shows how their work was securely based on traditional Aristotelian foundations. Through a detailed discussion of Aristotelian methodology, she shows how, in the face of Protestant misunderstanding, they justified their own claims for certainty.
This study restores Sergeant and his circle to their proper historical importance and provides an original and illuminating study of late seventeenth-century Aristotelian philosophy.

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Dorothea Krook (1920-1989) taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv; and in 1974 she became the first woman to be elected to membership of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Publications include Three Traditions of Moral Thought (Cambridge, 1959).

Beverley Southgate teaches History of Ideas at the University of Hertfordshire, and has recently published "Covetous of Truth": the Life and Work of Thomas White, 1593-1676.
Students and scholars of the history of philosophy.