David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Theology 22 (1/2):77-104 (2010)
In this article I argue that the 1729 Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity should be attributed to Anthony Collins. This was the prevailing view until the publication of James O’Higgins’s 1970 biography of Collins. Since then, most have followed Collins’s modern-day biographer in denying that Collins penned the Dissertation. After reviewing O’Higgins’s six reasons for rejecting Collins as the author, I respond to the substantive issues in what follows. Part I is a historical positioning of the Clarke-Collins liberty-necessity debate where I discuss the debate’s context, Collins’s methods and disposition, and timeline issues pertinent to ascribing authorship of the Dissertation to Collins. Part II is a demonstration of the fittingness of the Dissertation as Collins’s response to the earlier debate regarding liberty and necessity he had with Samuel Clarke
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