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Coleridge and Scepticism$
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Ben Brice

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290253

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290253.001.0001

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Theological Voluntarism and Protestant Critiques of Natural Reason

Theological Voluntarism and Protestant Critiques of Natural Reason

(p.10) 1 Theological Voluntarism and Protestant Critiques of Natural Reason
Coleridge and Scepticism

Ben Brice

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an examination of John Calvin's views on the devastating ‘noetic’ effects of the Fall. According to Calvin, one of the consequences of Adam and Eve's disobedience was that our reasoning powers had been vitiated and almost entirely destroyed by inherited original sin. Calvin argued that while God still revealed himself in an accommodated form in the ‘book’ or ‘theatre’ of nature, mankind was now incapable of discerning this divine revelation. Only the Elect, guided by the ‘spectacles’ of a Biblical faith, could discern the legible marks of God's presence in nature. These arguments concerning the ‘noetic’ effects of the Fall are shown to have a powerful afterlife in the philosophical writings of Boyle and Locke. The epistemological ‘piety’ or ‘modesty’ present within the methodological reflections of both thinkers is explored, and this attitude of piety is connected to Protestant critiques of natural reason and theological voluntarism.

Keywords:   Fall, accommodated, Elect, Boyle, Locke, epistemological piety, Protestant, natural reason

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