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Dr Tim Stuart-Buttle

Dr Tim Stuart-Buttle

Post-doctoral Research Associate

Faculty of English
9 West Road

Cambridge CB3 9DP
Office Phone: (01223 7) 67334


I completed by doctoral research at the University of Oxford in late 2013. I am currently a post-doctoral Research Associate on the ERC-funded project ‘Crossroads of Knowledge in Early Modern England: the Place of Literature’, which is co-hosted by CRASSH and the Faculty of English.



Subject groups/Research projects

Political Thought and Intellectual History:

Research Interests

My doctoral research explored the importance of a tradition of Ciceronian academic scepticism in the development of British philosophy from John Locke to David Hume (c.1660-1760). It indicated the centrality of Cicero—specifically as an academic sceptic, rather than a Stoic—for contemporary understandings of the interrelationship between epistemology, moral philosophy and religious apologetic. Individual chapters focused on Locke, Shaftesbury, Bernard Mandeville, Conyers Middleton and Hume. The monograph of the thesis is under contract with Oxford University Press.

As an RA on the Crossroads project, my current research project explores the development of English moral theology and political philosophy from Richard Hooker to John Locke. In part this will be a historical exploration of the conceptual genealogy of ‘things indifferent’. This concept was derived from the ancient Stoic idea of adiaphora (in Greek, ἀδιάφορα), which originally referred to those things which were deemed to fall outside of the legitimate or practical cognizance of the moral law. The classical origins of this concept are significant. The increasingly contested question of the relationship between classical moral philosophy and the Christian revelation sits at the heart of this inquiry. A central objective of this study will be to examine how and why the concept of adiaphora was increasingly employed in England to demarcate the legitimate—and perhaps discrete—jurisdictions of both civil and religious authority under a divinely-authored law of nature. In this regard, this project will advance our understanding of the English contribution to wider European debates regarding natural law and toleration, a subject which has recently attracted considerable scholarly attention.

Key Publications

'Shaftesbury Reconsidered: Stoic Ethics and the Unreasonableness of Christianity', Locke Studies, 14 (December 2014).

'The British Intellectual Context', in The Cambridge Companion to Gibbon, ed. Karen O'Brien & Brian Young (Cambridge: CUP, Forthcoming 2015).

Ciceronianism, Christianity and Visions of Humankind from Locke to Hume (Oxford: OUP, Forthcoming).