Faith and Reason in John Locke

Philosophy and Theology 11 (2):287-309 (1999)

Abstract

Against the prevailing interpretations that perceive John Locke as either a rationalist or as contradictory on the issue of faith and reason, this paper contends that Locke consistently argued for a compatibility of faith and reason. From his perspective, faith and reason are not two distinct “side by side entities, but instead they permeate each other’s realm in a fashion that does not violate the integrity of either one of them. Particular attention will be given to Locke’s distinctions between knowledge and faith and their respective probabilities. Locke’s position will be placed within the seventeenth-century theory of probability that followed the Aristotelian principle that different subject matters require different proofs, and a reasonable person should be satisfied with proofs appropriate for each subject

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