The period between the end of the 17th century up to the mid-18th century was the only time when Ireland was at the cutting edge of world thought. It was also a time of conflict between Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment forces; the origins of which can be found in Locke's fertile philosophy, as well as in the deep religious antagonisms between Anglicans, Catholics and Dissenters. "The Irish Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment" begins with John Toland's seminal "Christianity not Mysterious" (volume 1), which was perceived as an attack not only on Christianity but also on the political establishment in Ireland. It was creatively counter-attacked by some of the leading right-wing Irish ideologues - immediately by Peter Browne (volume 3) and Edward Synge (volume 2), though less directly by William King (volume 1). The animosity against Toland can also be seen in the writings of Swift (volume 2), who described Toland as "the great oracle of the Anti-Christians ...an Irish priest and the son of an Irish priest". This diverse range of rare and sought-after works vividly illustrates the conflict between Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment thought. They also provide a better understanding of works by other great Irish writers of this period - Berkeley, Swift, Burke and Hutcheson - whose works are all too often read on their own, and as a consequence, misunderstood. For example, in order to understand Berkeley's revolutionary non-cognitive theory of language it is necessary to see it in the context of Toland's cognitivist challenge in "Christianity not Mysterious", in addition to the pragmatist response offered by Archbishop William King (volume 1) in his sermon of 1709; "Divine Predestination and Fore-Knowledge, Consistent with the Freedom of Man's Will".
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 2435
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
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