Samuel Johnson

(1696—1772) Church of England clergyman and teacher in America

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American philosopher. A symptomatic figure rather than an independently important philosopher, Johnson was born in Connecticut and taught at Yale. He was instrumental in founding the university of Pennsylvania and Columbia university. His career shows a gradual evolution from narrow New England Calvinism, under the impact of Locke, Newton, and above all Berkeley, with whom Johnson became friendly during the latter's visit to Rhode Island. Johnson became an enthusiastic immaterialist, and defender of free will, tempering the harsh doctrine of predestination even to the point of joining the Church of England. See also plenitude, principle of.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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