The Liberty Fund edition of Characteristicks presents the complete 1732 text of this classic work of philosophy and political theory. Also included are faithful reproductions of the stirring engravings that Shaftesbury designed to facilitate the reader’s consideration of his meditations on the interrelationships among truth, goodness, beauty, virtue, liberty, responsibility, society, and the state.
The grandson of a founder and leader of the English Whigs, and tutored by John Locke, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), wrote one of the most intellectually influential works in English of the eighteenth century. This was the three-volume Characteristicks, originally published in 1711, but revised in 1714 to accommodate the engravings of illustrations that Shaftesbury himself planned to aid the reader’s consideration of his reflections on virtue as a kind of rationally achieved harmony among the affections.
Douglas Den Uyl is Vice President of Educational Programs for Liberty Fund.