The Consequences of War in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy: Ideas of Sustainable Peace in Elisabeth of Bohemia, Anne Conway, and Margaret Cavendish


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project focuses on the seventeenth-century philosophers Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618- 1680), Anne Conway (1631-1679), and Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) as they respond to the Thirty Years’ War and the English Civil War, conflicts whose political instability as well as economic and social devastation directly affected them. All three thinkers had distinct philosophical and moral responses to the wars of the seventeenth- century, but they agreed that war itself is not an inevitable condition and that its consequences outweigh its justifications or legitimacy. These key observations, among others, distinguished their thought from the prevalent theories of just war, which treated war as an essential aspect of the human condition.