Shaftesbury's Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: A Study in Enthusiasm

Shaftesbury's Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: A Study in Enthusiasm

Shaftesbury's Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: A Study in Enthusiasm

Shaftesbury's Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: A Study in Enthusiasm

Excerpt

If the influence of Locke can be gauged by the nineteen editions that his Essay Concerning Human Understanding went through in the eighteenth century, the somewhat less but still great influence of Shaftesbury can be measured by the eleven editions of his Characteristics between 1711 and 1790. Shaftesbury's philosophy was in great vogue in England in the first half of the eighteenth century; Goldsmith wrote soon after the middle of the century that he had "more imitators in Britain than any other writer I know. . . ."SUPSUP SUPSUP Herder generously styled Shaftesbury the "beloved Plato of Europe," and in 1794 the German thinker could justly write that "this virtuoso of humanity . . . has had a marked influence on the best minds of our century, on those who have striven with determination and sincerity for the true, the beautiful, and the good."SUPSUP SUPSUP After reading The Moralists, Leibniz wrote: "I found in it almost all of my Theodicy before it saw the light of day. . . . If I had see this work before my Theodicy was published, I should have profited as I ought and should have borrowed its great passages."SUPSUP SUPSUP The power of Shaftesbury's thought is not only . . .

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