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Reading the Silences,Questioning the Terms: A Response to the Focus on Eighteenth-Century Ethics

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It is striking that most of the essays in this Focus do not explore the specifically religious aspects of Enlightenment ethical thought. A principled reason for this may be found in a conception of religion that makes it hard for Enlightenment thinkers to seem religious at all. Neither does this conception fit anything that is likely to be a live option for most people today, and the now prevalent unpopularity of eighteenth-century piety and religious thought may blind us to important religious possibilities.
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Keywords: Enlightenment; modernity; pluralism; rationalism; religion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Clark Professor of Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics and Chair of the Philosophy Department, Yale University

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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