By Knud Haakonssen
Greater than thirty eminent students from 9 assorted nations have contributed to The Cambridge historical past of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy - the main finished and updated historical past of the topic to be had in English. For the eighteenth century the dominant notion in philosophy was once human nature and so it truly is round this idea that the paintings is established. this enables the participants to supply either particular explorations of the epistemological, metaphysical and moral subject matters that proceed to face on the vanguard of philosophy, and to voice a severe angle to the historiography at the back of this emphasis in philosophical idea. whilst there's due sensitivity to historic context with specific emphasis at the connections among philosophy, technological know-how, and theology. This judiciously balanced, systematic, and accomplished account of the entire of Western philosophy within the interval may be a useful source for philosophers, highbrow historians, theologians, political theorists, historians of technological know-how and literary students.
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He simply does not trouble himself with dogmas that are without benefit to morality. At the same time, like Voltaire, Rousseau’s priest is appalled by the new materialist or naturalist understanding of humanity (la Mettrie, Helv´etius, d’Holbach), which means a total rejection of his own deistic faith along with the ecclesiastical faith he himself subjects to criticism. 28 In Germany, it was different: there the scattering of English ideas generated something new and positive in the understanding of religion.
L. Battles, ed. J. T. McNeill, 2 vols. viii. 10 John Locke, An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. P. H. xix. 4, §67. 12 Matthew Tindal, Christianity as Old as the Creation: or, The Gospel, a Republication of the Religion of Nature (London, 1730). 13 For the passage from Charles Leslie, see Religious Thought in the Eighteenth Century, Illustrated from Writers of the Period, eds. J. M. Creed and J. S. Boys Smith (Cambridge, 1934), 53–4. This volume also contains representative selections from Thomas Sherlock, Soame Jenyns, Henry Dodwell, and William Law.
The interval of time which separated the two philosophers was marked by a great ferment of ideas and lively discussions: the explosion and propagation of Deism especially among the French exponents of the Enlightenment who, drawing heavily on English sources, rejected revealed religion altogether in favour of natural religion; the influence in Germany of Pietism, with its stress on morality and the practice of Christianity rather than doctrinal faith and its aversion to the aridly scholastic intellectualisation of Christianity by Protestant orthodoxy; the tendency, on the other hand, of some of the defenders of Christian religion progressively to ‘rationalise’ the revelation they were attempting to defend (Christian Wolff, the 666 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 Revealed religion: European debate 667 German Neologists); the relationship between history and religion proposed by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing on the basis of the distinction of the contingent truths of history from the necessary truths of reason; the perspective of Kant’s criticism (followed in his religious thought by the young Fichte) which asserted the priority of practical reason, and the fundamental consequences of this for the knowledge of God and religion in general.
Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy by Knud Haakonssen