Proofs of God in Early Modern Europe
325 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9781481309318
- Published: August 2018
Proofs of God in Early Modern Europe offers a fascinating window into early modern efforts to prove God’s existence. Assembled here are twenty-two key texts, many translated into English for the first time, which illustrate the variety of arguments that philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries offered for God. These selections feature traditional proofs—such as various ontological, cosmological, and design arguments—but also introduce more exotic proofs, such as the argument from eternal truths, the argument from universal aseity, and the argument ex consensu gentium. Drawn from the work of eighteen philosophers, this book includes both canonical figures (such as Descartes, Spinoza, Newton, Leibniz, Locke, and Berkeley) and noncanonical thinkers (such as Norris, Fontenelle, Voltaire, Wolff, Du Châtelet, and Maupertuis).
Lloyd Strickland provides fresh translations of all selections not originally written in English and updates the spelling and grammar of those that were. Each selection is prefaced by a lengthy headnote, giving a biographical account of its author, an analysis of the main argument(s), and important details about the historical context. Strickland’s introductory essay provides further context, focusing on the various reasons that led so many thinkers of early modernity to develop proofs of God’s existence.
Proofs of God is perfect for both students and scholars of early modern philosophy and philosophy of religion.
Strickland offers us a brilliant historical introduction to the philosophical quest to prove the existence of God, and a wonderful collection of judiciously edited texts from the work of the best philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries. This is a masterpiece, a dream come true for those interested in the philosophy of God in early modern European philosophy.~Charles Taliaferro, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, St. Olaf College
After the work of Richard Popkin and Jonathan Israel, it is difficult to read early modern texts without thinking primarily of religious skepticism. For this reason, as well as for the precision and erudition of its introduction and notes, Lloyd Strickland’s felicitous sourcebook meets a pressing need. All those who think that philosophical reasoning has repudiated or demonstrated God’s existence must read this book. No philosophical topic, today as in early modernity, has more at stake.~Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary, and author of Proofs of God