Newman’s Immanent Critique of Liberalism

Philosophy and Theology 27 (1):189-207 (2015)
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Abstract

John Henry Newman's theological arguments against the mixture of liberal philosophy and Christian religion have drawn a great deal of scholarly attention. Comparatively underappreciated is Newman's rebuttal of liberal ideas on the philosophical plane. In this line of argument, which runs parallel to his more purely theological critique, Newman uses some of liberalism's own foundational philosophical premises to undermine the conclusions put forth by the exponents of liberal religion. This immanent critique of liberal religion is important not merely because it shows Newman's capacity to engage his opponents on their own terms, but also because it provides an argument against liberal religion that merits consideration even for those who reject Newman's particular theological beliefs.

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