Locke on Judgement and Religious Toleration

With the publication of Locke?s early manuscripts on toleration and the drafts for the Essay, it is possible to understand to what extent Locke?s ideas on religious toleration have developed. Although the important arguments for toleration can already be found in these early texts, Locke was confronted with a problem in his defence of toleration that he needed to solve. If faith, as a form of judgement, is involuntary, as Locke claims, how can one be held accountable for the faith one has? In answer to this question reason comes to play a more prominent role in Locke?s notion of faith and in his defence of religious toleration, and in his philosophy in general. This notion of reason is not the reason we use for mathematical demonstrations. It is rather reason as we use it in discussion, and is thus fallible. It is precisely this kind of reason that played a central role in the Remonstrant religion to which Locke was closely connected at the time he developed a new argument for religious toleration when he was in the Netherlands
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2011.650974
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