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Joseph Priestley, Scientist, Philosopher, and Theologian$
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Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215300

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215300.001.0001

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Joseph Priestley, Political Philosopher *

Joseph Priestley, Political Philosopher *

(p.113) 4 Joseph Priestley, Political Philosopher*
Joseph Priestley, Scientist, Philosopher, and Theologian

Martin Fitzpatrick

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Priestley's political ideas and radical reputation. It argues that the most important dimensions of Priestley's political philosophy are his delineation of a specific sphere for civil liberty, his arguments for freedom of inquiry, and his belief that political activity should aim at creating the optimal conditions for preserving civil liberty and for a free and open society in which truth would progress. Both in his insistent arguments for liberty of thought and in his radicalization of Locke on sovereignty and toleration, he conformed and contributed to major trends within the Enlightenment.

Keywords:   political philosophy, radical, natural rights, sovereignty, civil liberty, religious liberty, freedom on inquiry

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