Essay Toleration

Essay Toleration-38
In Chapter 8, Jolley is concerned that, in , Locke seems to deny one of the premises of his defense of toleration: that establishing the truth of a true religion requires expertise that the ordinary day-laborer does not possess.In this work, he advocates a doctrine, discoverable in Scripture, that even day-laborers may discover, and in this respect invokes the notorious notion of Locke's doctrinal minimalism, of which I will have more to say shortly.The book begins with an introductory chapter that ranges over the last four decades of Locke's life and provides historical context, focusing on key events that became occasions for Locke's reflections on toleration.

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Jolley's analyses and expositions are challenging and illuminating, even if one does not always agree with their outcomes.

His concern is to show by these chapters that Locke bases his case for toleration on several arguments, and not on one only, as his nemesis, Jonas Proast contended.

This is a concept that Locke also had: assurance beyond doubt, belief bordering upon certainty; yet it is not knowledge.

Chapter 4 introduces the notion of cognitive individualism, and its analogue, doxastic individualism.

A principal purpose of Nicholas Jolley's book is to demonstrate the unity of Locke's thought, especially as expressed in his major works.

The sort of unity he has in mind is thematic not systematic, for he acknowledges that these works arose under different occasions, were meant to address diverse problems, practical and theoretical, and so were not designed as expressions of a single intellectual project.

Its aftermath caused Locke to seek refuge in the Netherlands.

While Locke was there, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes (1685), thereby terminating religious liberty to French Protestants.

But as Jolley points out, the distinction is incomplete.

As Proast observed, Locke overlooks the possibility of belief that verges upon knowledge, which he terms 'full assurance' or the certainty of faith.


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