Of Clocks and Kings: Physics, Metaphysics, and the Role of God in Clarke’s Worldview


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    In this dissertation I examine how the English philosopher-theologian Samuel Clarke (1675--1729) attempted to reasonableness of Christianity and its compatibility with the new natural philosophy. In reaction to what he perceived as the problematic excesses of mechanical philosophy, with its looming threat of atheism, Clarke developed a series of arguments against atheism which aimed to show the shortcomings of a purely material or mechanical explanation of the universe, and demonstrate the overall `reasonability' of the Christian religion. Clarke aimed to demonstrate the `reasonableness' of Christianity by turning the `mathematical' style of reasoning of the mechanical philosophy against his atheist adversaries. Clarke's writings offer us a valuable case-study for the complex interplay of philosophy, science and religion in England at the start of the eighteenth century, and the impact of mechanical philosophy on natural theology. This dissertation aims to improve our understanding of Clarke's philosophy through careful examination of its principal components: The active role of God in the world, the perfection of God's plan, the existence of immaterial substances and powers, and the subsequent reasonability of the Christian religion. Taken together, the four chapters show Clarke's solutions to the atheist threats, and provide a coherent picture of Clarke's ideas about the nature of God and God's role in the world.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Nauta, Lodi, Supervisor
    • Palmerino, C.R., Supervisor, Externe Persoon
    • Adriaenssen, Han Thomas, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning1-sep.-2022
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    StatusPublished - 2022

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