The Authoritative Testimony of Nature
This chapter demonstrates how Locke's gradual move away from his early political positions parallels his encounter with a new notion of reasonableness based on probable judgment. This shift took place as Locke became involved with a group of researchers surrounding Robert Boyle who were adopting a “new probability” linked to the evidential testimony of natural signs or nondemonstrable facts. Although their vocabulary grew from medieval notions of probability, these experimentalists unwittingly secularized practical rationality in a way that transformed scientific, religious, and political justification. This shift hinged on an assumption that evidence presented to the senses can be seen as a natural deliverance emanating from an ultimately inaccessible, yet divinely ordained structure of order.
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