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Enthusiasm and Human Nature. About a Letter from Locke to Damaris Cudworth

Abstract : In a letter to Damaris Cudworth written in 1682, Locke gives a critical account of the conceptions of divine love and supra-rational knowledge expressed by the Cambridge Platonist, John Smith, in his Select Discourses (1652). To Locke, such conceptions are dangerously close to enthusiasm. The letter shed some light on the famous chapter “Of Enthusiasm” added to the fourth edition of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1700). The link between enthusiasm and a brand of platonic anthropology assessing the human capacity of disincarnated knowledge allows a better understanding of the general project of the Essay, a book in which Locke promotes a new conception of human nature and human reason, stressing its corporeal condition.
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Philippe Hamou. Enthusiasm and Human Nature. About a Letter from Locke to Damaris Cudworth. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, Presses Universitaires de France, 2008, ⟨10.3917/rmm.083.0337⟩. ⟨hal-02322233⟩



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