Jonathan Edwards and the Limits of Enlightenment Philosophy by Leon Chai

By Leon Chai

Jonathan Edwards has typically been thought of within the context of the Puritanism of latest England. in lots of methods, despite the fact that, he used to be towards the thinkers of the eu Enlightenment. during this e-book. Leon Chai explores that connection, examining Edwards' idea in gentle of some of the matters that preoccupied such Enlightenment figures as Locke, Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz. The e-book includes 3 components, each one of which starts with an in depth research of a very important passage from a vintage Enlightenment textual content, after which turns to a huge theological paintings of Jonathan Edwards' during which a similar factor is explored.

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Finally, there is a concern with the ultimate purpose of such questions, a desire to ascertain whether they are in fact genuinely meaningful. For all their immediate appeal, nevertheless, we now find ourselves at some distance from the various exemplary instances of Enlightenment philosophy. To some extent, the questions they asked have ceased to engage our energies, and even when they do, we no longer pursue them in the same way. Precisely because of this, however, I believe we should now be in a better position to arrive at new insights into the nature of some of the different modes of Enlightenment rationality.

Instead, it simultaneously abolishes many others and ultimately seeks to transform our whole sense of philosophy itself. We feel its radically destructive tendency most strongly in its opening analogy. Having a mind that is "white Paper, void of all Characters, without any Ideas" is, in effect, tantamount to not having a mind at all. We become conscious of having a mind only when we have an idea of some kind. Possession of an idea makes us conscious of thinking it, which leads in turn to an awareness of mind.

At Oxford University Press, Cynthia Read helped to shepherd my book through the submission process. In addition, the two anonymous readers for the press offered comments that have resulted in what I hope will prove substantial improvements. Tom Hove performed the labor of preparing a disk copy of the manuscript by means of recent scanner technology. I owe him thanks for his patience and, even more, his friendly generosity. Finally, Cara Ryan assisted me in innumerable ways throughout the long process by which this book came into existence.

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