Colloquium: Professor Nicholas Jolley (UCI)

Department: Philosophy

Date and Time: June 2, 2017 | 3:00 PM-5:00 PM

Event Location: HIB 55

Event Details

Title: "The Beams of Locke's Building: His Arguments for Religious Toleration"

In reply to a critic Locke insists that his defense of religious toleration is a building that is supported by several beams.

Such a claim is in striking contrast to Jeremy Waldron's interpretation of Locke's case: in an influential essay Waldron claims that Locke has only one argument for religious toleration, a flawed argument from the involuntariness of belief.  In this paper I seek to vindicate Locke's own account of his argumentative strategy. I show that Locke argues for toleration from the function of the state and from the impossibility of knowledge with regard to revealed religion; I also show how Locke's argument from the involuntariness of belief does not succumb to Waldron's objections.  A major aim of the paper is to suggest that Locke's concern with the defense of religious toleration throws a flood of light on his epistemological project in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.