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By Leon Chai

Jonathan Edwards has more often than not been thought of within the context of the Puritanism of latest England. in lots of methods, notwithstanding, he was once in the direction of the thinkers of the ecu Enlightenment. during this publication. Leon Chai explores that connection, reading Edwards' inspiration in gentle of the various concerns that preoccupied such Enlightenment figures as Locke, Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz. The publication includes 3 components, every one of which starts with a close research of a very important passage from a vintage Enlightenment textual content, after which turns to an immense theological paintings of Jonathan Edwards' within which an analogous factor is explored.

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In addition, I felt that the means employed made the quest for a resolution one that continues to have significant consequences. Why, after all, should a form of analysis perfected by some of the finest minds of two centuries lead to the sort of dilemma I have just described? And what implications did this have for our current relation to rationality? Finally, a word about my juxtaposition of Edwards and Enlightenment philosophy. To begin with, one might ask: why Locke, Malebranche, and Leibniz?

In his initial description, Locke had tried to suggest that the senses convey perceptions to the mind as a result of the way they are affected by external objects. Ultimately, as we now know, this description breaks down because of the inability of the senses to sustain perceptions, which are essentially mental rather than physical. Nevertheless, the first description reflects an important insight: in order for our perceptions to derive from external sources, they must result from the particular way our senses are affected.

To furnish literal proof that it does not do so is, obviously, impossible. What Locke tries to show instead is that everything we perceive is already contained in our experiences. Thus our experience of something as yellow or white, hot or cold, bitter or sweet is tantamount to a perception. Consequently, there is no need for the mind to "interpret" (and hence modify) what it experiences. By thus identifying what we perceive with experiences produced by external objects, he can then attribute any perceptions we might have to those objects.

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