By Knud Haakonssen
Greater than thirty eminent students from 9 diverse international locations have contributed to The Cambridge historical past of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy - the main finished and up to date historical past of the topic on hand in English. For the eighteenth century the dominant idea in philosophy was once human nature and so it truly is round this idea that the paintings is established. this permits the members to provide either special explorations of the epistemological, metaphysical and moral topics that proceed to face on the vanguard of philosophy, and to voice a severe angle to the historiography at the back of this emphasis in philosophical suggestion. while there's due sensitivity to ancient context with specific emphasis at the connections among philosophy, technology, and theology. This judiciously balanced, systematic, and accomplished account of the total of Western philosophy within the interval could be a useful source for philosophers, highbrow historians, theologians, political theorists, historians of technology and literary students.
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21 Moreover, the very definition of miracle as ‘the violation of the divine, immutable, eternal laws of mathematics . . is a contradiction in terms’, because ‘a law cannot be at once immutable and violated’. 22 Finally, miracles are based on testimony, but, disregarding the possibility of illusion, hallucination, or deformed Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 Revealed religion: European debate 673 reports, testimony can be reliable only if the witnesses do not have any vested interest in the facts they are recounting.
The marvels recorded in the New Testament must have been convincing proofs to those who witnessed them. But today, they will be most credible to someone who is convinced already of the religion they were at first intended to support. 13 Some of the brightest luminaries of the English church were drawn into the fray, including Samuel Clarke, George Berkeley, and Joseph Butler. Clarke despised the Deists as closet atheists, who, under the pretence of deism, ridiculed all that was truly excellent even in natural religion.
Has God not told everything to our eyes, to our conscience, to our judgement? What more will men tell us? Their revelations have only the effect of degrading God by giving Him human passions. 18 The attacks against revealed religion multiplied. In writings such as Diderot’s Pens´ees philosophiques (1746), the foundations of revealed religion were undermined through the criticism of miracles and of the divine inspiration of Scriptures. It was once again Voltaire who dealt some of the most devastating blows against the claim of Christian religion to be founded on a supernatural revelation by levelling trenchant criticism against the classical proofs called in its support: prophecies, miracles, martyrdom.