The Mind of God

Edward Craig

in The Mind of God and the Works of Man

Published in print December 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236825
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597244 | DOI:
The Mind of God

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The principal aim of this chapter is to document and describe the ‘dominant philosophy’ of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries: the doctrine that man was made in the image of God. Examining writings by thinkers such as Galileo, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Leibniz, Malebranche, Newton, Clarke, and Berkeley, Craig finds that they were all committed to some version of the Similarity Thesis. Its cognitive branch, the ‘Insight Ideal’, manifests itself in the view that our logical and mathematical knowledge and our knowledge of our own mental states possesses a certainty that even God cannot surpass, as well as in the, then widespread, view that we live in a world that is, in principle, fully intelligible to us. The link between the human and the divine mind is usually thought to be provided by the faculty of reason, but the Similarity Thesis has also taken the form that the human mind is in fact a part of the divine intellect. It connects with the prevalence of a contemplative or scientific ethic in which the pursuit of knowledge appears as a good in itself. Moreover, there is a version of the Image of God doctrine focusing on agency and finding expression in the view of, for example, Descartes that, at its best, the human will is as free as a will could possibly be.

Keywords: Berkeley; cause; Clarke; Descartes; divine; freedom; Galileo; God; human; Image of God; Insight Ideal; intellect; nnowledge; Leibniz; Newton; Reason; Similarity Thesis; Spinoza

Chapter.  22628 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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