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Catharine Trotter Cockburn
Portrait of Catharine Cockburn.jpg
Born Catharine Trotter
16 August 1679
London, England
Died 11 May 1749(1749-05-11) (aged 69)
Longhorsley, England
Resting place Longhorsley
Occupation novelist, dramatist, philosopher.
Language English
Nationality English
Genre correspondence
Subject moral philosophy, theological tracts
Patrick Cockburn
(m. 1708)

Catharine Trotter Cockburn (16 August 1679 – 11 May 1749) was an English novelist, dramatist, and philosopher. She wrote on moral philosophy, theological tracts, and had a voluminous correspondence.

Trotter's work addresses a range of issues including necessity, the infinitude of space, and the substance, but she focuses on moral issues. She thought that moral principles are not innate, but discoverable by each individual through the use of the faculty of reason endowed by God. In 1702, she published her first major philosophical work, A Defence of Mr. Lock's [sic.] An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. John Locke was so pleased with this defence that he made gifts of money and books to his young apologist acting through Elizabeth Burnet who had first made Locke aware of Trotter's "Defence".

Her work attracted the attention of William Warburton, who prefaced her last philosophical work. She also had a request from the biographer Thomas Birch to aid him in compiling a collection of her works. She agreed to the project but died before the work could be printed. Birch posthumously published a two-volume collection entitled The Works of Mrs. Catharine Cockburn, Theological, Moral, Dramatic, and Poetical in 1751. It is largely through this text that readers and history have come to know her.

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