Jonathan Edwards and the Limits of Enlightenment Philosophy

By Leon Chai | Go to book overview

Introductory

WE MIGHT BEGIN with the sort of scene Descartes describes in the first of his Meditations: himself, seated in a dressing gown by a fire, holding a sheet of paper in his hand, wondering about the reality of that paper, his body, perhaps ultimately himself. It is tempting to see this scene as representative, in many ways, of what philosophy in his time is all about. To begin with, there is the emphasis on ordinary, everyday situations. Secondly, there is the effort to resolve questions that arise from reflection on such situations without having recourse to unwarranted assumptions or concepts that do not derive directly from the situation itself. Instead, we find each question pursued to its natural outcome through a method based on deductions and inferences. Finally, there is a concern with the ultimate purpose of such questions, a desire to ascertain whether they are in fact genuinely meaningful.

For all their immediate appeal, nevertheless, we now find ourselves at some distance from the various exemplary instances of Enlightenment philosophy. To some extent, the questions they asked have ceased to engage our energies, and even when they do, we no longer pursue them in the same way. Precisely because of this, however, I believe we should now be in a better position to arrive at new insights into the nature of some of the different modes of Enlightenment rationality. What I attempt to offer here, then, is an analysis of what several of these modes of Enlightenment rationality involve. Specifically, I focus on the sequence of thoughts or positions put forward by a particular philosophical text, in the belief that what is crucial to a given mode of philosophical rationality is the sequence of steps by which it undertakes to substantiate its thesis. Hence my use of Descartes Meditations as a kind of model for my study. Like Descartes, I present, at the beginning of each chapter, a problem that the ensuing analysis attempts to resolve by means of a sequence of deductions and inferences, in a style designed to reflect that of the text on which my discussion is based. Unlike Descartes, however, what I then proceed to show is how the use of such a method leads to unavoidable contradictions. By examining the precise ways in which these contradictions arise, finally, I try to

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Jonathan Edwards and the Limits of Enlightenment Philosophy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 164

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.