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Toleration and Understanding in Locke$
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Nicholas Jolley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791706

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198791706.001.0001

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Knowledge and Belief

(p.57) 4 Individualism
Toleration and Understanding in Locke

Nicholas Jolley

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how in rather different ways Locke is an individualist about both knowledge and belief. In the tradition of Descartes Locke defends individualism about knowledge as a conceptual truth; by contrast, Locke defends individualism about belief as more of a normative thesis: people ought to believe for themselves, especially in matters of religion. It is shown that Locke’s individualism about belief supports his case for specifically religious toleration on the part of the state. The chapter also addresses the issue of whether Locke has good grounds for arguing that people ought to judge for themselves in religious matters.

Keywords:   belief, Descartes, individualism, innate principles, knowledge, nativism, practical principles

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