Anthony Collins in the Context of Early British Enlightenment

Jan Čížek

Abstract


The paper aims to introduce the main aspects of the philosophical work of the English free-thinker Anthony Collins (1676–1729) and portray it in the context of the British Enlightenment (esp. between the end of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century). By means of an analysis of Collins’s individual works, the paper illustrates his understanding of reason as an instrument necessary not only in the area of profane but also of the divine knowledge. The paper further deals with Collins’s defence of absolute freedom of thought and the form of its presentation. A considerable amount of attention is also paid to Collins’s philosophy of religion. The study documents that Collins was by no means an isolated philosopher; on the contrary, his work was based on previous (Spinoza, Edward Herbert of Cherbury and mainly John Locke) as well as on contemporary philosophical discussions (especially John Toland).

Keywords


Anthony Collins; British Enlightenment; Deism; freethought; John Locke; John Toland; reason

https://doi.org/10.5817/pf18-1-1765

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References

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Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097