Matter, motion, and Newtonian public science, 1695–1714

Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth

in Deism in Enlightenment England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780719078729
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703304 | DOI:
Matter, motion, and Newtonian public science, 1695–1714

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Newton envisaged an immaterial, all-powerful, and active God at the head of the universe. The difference between deist and non-deist presentation of contemporary natural philosophy is indistinguishable in the middle of the eighteenth century. It is also worth noting at this stage, that many of the views advanced by the deists are not reducible to one representative. Tindal saw unfounded appropriation of the soul's care as a defining aspect of priestcraft. Collins and his fellow deists proposed that total human freedom was the basis for the liberty enjoyed by all Britons. Many saw Collins writings as emblematic of deism. Any accurate picture of deism or deists is found in the writings of the individual deists themselves. They were more than owners of a meaningless pejorative designation hurled at them by the godly. One of the most vocal opponents of deism was Henry Sacheverell DD, who in 1709 created much controversy with his inflammatory oratory.

Keywords: Newton; priestcraft; deists; material soul; Henry Sacheverell DD; contemporary natural philosophy

Chapter.  18648 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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