Locke and Leibniz on Religious Faith

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (4):703 - 721 (2012)
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In the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke maintains that ?Reason must be our last Judge and Guide in every Thing,? including matters of religious faith, and this commitment to the primacy of reason is not abandoned in his later religious writings. This essay argues that with regard to the relation between reason and religious faith, Locke is primarily concerned not with evidence, but with consistency, meaning, and how human beings ought to respond to their inclinations, including their inclinations to believe. Leibniz, on the other hand, stakes out an alternative conception of the relationship between faith and reason that assigns to faith the role of a primary truth. For Leibniz, some religious propositions can be believed immediately and without an additional examination and evaluation by reason. The essay maintains that the differences between the two regarding faith and reason are tied to a broader disagreement about how much of the human understanding is due, in Locke's words, to ?Labour, Attention and Industry?



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Michael Losonsky
Colorado State University

Citations of this work

Locke's Natural and Religious Epistemology.Shelley Weinberg - 2020 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (2):241-266.
Faith and Reason.Maria Rosa Antognazza - forthcoming - In The Oxford Handbook of Leibniz. Oxford - New York: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by C. B. Macpherson.
An essay concerning human understanding.John Locke - 1689 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Pauline Phemister.

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