Anthony Ashley Cooper Bibliography

Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit 1699
Shaftesbury’s education was supervised by Locke, who was secretary to his grandfather, the first earl (1621-83), a leading Whig.  The Inquiry represents a break with Locke’s philosophy; Shaftesbury defends a theism which proclaims that everything that exists is for the best and which leaves nothing to chance - a natural religion in which virtue, concerned with the good of the whole, is as basic to human nature as self-interest: one is morally good only when the good of the whole is the “immediate object of some passion of affection moving him”, without any thought of reward or punishment. 

“To have the natural, kindly, or generous affections strong and powerful towards the good of the public is to have thechief means and power of self-enjoyment.”

“The Admiration and Love of Order, Harmony and Proportion, in whatever kind, is naturally improving to the Temper, advantageous to social Affection, and highly assistant to Virtue; which is itself no other than the Love of Order and Beauty in Society.”
The Sociable Enthusiast 1703
The Sociable Enthusiast, published in 1703-4, was an early version of The Moralists, which appeared in 1709.
A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm to my Lord * * * * * * (Somers) 1708
The Moralists 1708
Sensus Communis: An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour 1709
Soliloquy 1710
Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times (revised edition, 1713) 1711
A collection of Shaftesbury’s main works which had an immediate impact on the Continent as well as in England.
Principes de la philosophie morale ou Essai de M. S*** sur le merite et la vertu avec Reflexions 1745
Diderot's translation and publication of Shaftesbury's Inquiry concerning Virtue or Merit. Due to the fact that the Essai advocated a natural philosophy independent of Revelation it was viewed as being potentially subversive. Thus when it appeared in April it did so without either Shaftesbury’s or Diderot’s name and under a bogus ‘Amsterdam’ imprint. The Essai received respectful reviews, even from the Jesuit-run Memoires de Trevoux.

“In the universe everything is united. This truth was one of the first steps taken by philosophy...and all the discoveries of modern philosophers agree in stating the same proposition...The further we look into nature the more unity we see.”

“Atheism leaves honesty unsupported; it does worse, indirectly it leads to depravity. Nevertheless, Hobbes was a good citizen, parent and friend, and he did not believe in God. Men are not consistent...If there is any surprise it should not be an atheist who lives an upright life but a Christian who lives a bad life.” (From Diderot’s notes to Shaftesbury’s text).
Letters of the Earl of Shaftesbury, Author of the Characteristicks 1746