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Cooper, Thomas,1759–1839, American scientist, educator, and political philosopher, b. London, educated at Oxford. His important works include Political Essays (1799); the appendixes to the Memoirs of Dr. Joseph Priestley (2 vol., 1806), in which he reviews Priestley's life and works at length; Lectures on the Elements of Political Economy (1826); Treatise on the Law of Libel (1830); and (as editor) The Statutes at Large of South Carolina (5 vol., 1836–39). Cooper emigrated to the United States in 1794 and, settling near his friend Joseph Priestley in Northumberland, Pa., was his partner in scientific research. As a supporter of the Jeffersonian opposition to the Federalists, he wrote many political pamphlets, especially against the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Convicted under the acts, he was imprisoned and fined $400; after his death this fine was repaid to his heirs. He taught at Dickinson College and the Univ. of Pennsylvania and was president (1820–33) of South Carolina College (now the Univ. of South Carolina).
See D. Malone, The Public Life of Thomas Cooper (1926); J. N. Ireland, A Memoir of the Professional Life of Thomas Abthorpe Cooper (repr. 1970).
Born Oct. 22, 1759, in Westminster; died May 11, 1839, in Columbia, S.C. Anglo-American materialist philosopher, physician, chemist, economist, and political figure.
Cooper studied at Oxford and was a member of the Manchester Constitutional Society. During the French Revolution he visited France (1792), and in 1793 he emigrated to the USA with the family of his teacher and father-in-law, the English scholar and philosopher J. Priestley. He became a friend of T. Jefferson. He was appointed a judge and later taught chemistry and economics, serving as president of South Carolina College in Columbia from 1821 to 1833. In his philosophical works and anonymous antireligious pamphlets, Cooper advocated a materialist and atheist world view, denying the existence of a spiritual substance, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of free will and innate ideas. Cooper’s work on psychophysiology followed the trend initiated by the French materialists J. La Mettrie and P. Cabanis.
WORKSTracts, Ethical, Theological and Political. Warrington, 1789.
Political Essays. Philadelphia, 1800.
A View of the Metaphysical and Physiological Arguments in Favor of Materialism. Philadelphia, 1823.
The Scripture Doctrine of Materialism. Philadelphia, 1823.
Lectures on the Elements of Political Economy. Columbia, 1826.
In Russian translation:
In Amerikanskie prosvetiteli, vol. 2. Moscow, 1969. Pages 325–408.
REFERENCESGol’dberg, N. M. Svobodomyslie i ateizm v SShA. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965. Chapter 5.
Malone, D. The Public Life of Th. Cooper. New Haven-London, 1926.
B. E. BYKHOVSKII