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Locke and Cartesian Philosophy$
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Philippe Hamou and Martine Pécharman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198815037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198815037.001.0001

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Essential Religiosity in Descartes and Locke

Essential Religiosity in Descartes and Locke

Chapter:
(p.158) 9 Essential Religiosity in Descartes and Locke
Source:
Locke and Cartesian Philosophy
Author(s):

Catherine Wilson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198815037.003.0010

This chapter offers an overview and comparison of Descartes’s and Locke’s stances toward religious and moral issues (their ‘essential religiosity’), such as their views on divine agency in the creation of the world and direction of human affairs; the relevance of divine retribution and reward to morality; their sense of supernatural power and artistry as revealed in things of the world. It contrasts the different kinds of epistemic and moral humility that these engender in each author. Descartes’s attitude of acceptance towards all that befalls us followed from his conception of the universe as a law-governed realm, manifesting God’s impersonal wisdom and power. Locke’s belief that God is merciful with respect to human weakness and our tendency to stumble and blunder follows from his sense of the complexity of nature and human affairs and the mediocrity of human reason.

Keywords:   religion, divine agency, retribution, morality, epistemic humility

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