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Liberating JudgmentFanatics, Skeptics, and John Locke's Politics of Probability$
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Douglas John Casson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144740

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144740.001.0001

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Enacting Judgment

Enacting Judgment

Dismantling the Divine Certainty of Sir Robert Filmer

(p.185) VI Enacting Judgment
Liberating Judgment

Douglas John Casson

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers how Locke's extensive attack on Robert Filmer in the First Treatise is just one part of his larger political project of recoining a language of probable judgment. The specific arguments that Filmer advances are not as threatening to Locke as Filmer's general appeal to a type of divine certainty based on Scripture. Locke is eager to show that Filmerian certainty is both rationally groundless and politically disastrous. His sustained effort to discredit the patriarchal defense of absolutism is part of an attempt to supplant Filmer's method of justification with a new vocabulary of judgment. By insisting on the distance between the mind of God and the minds of men, Locke can transform Filmer's appeal to divine providence into a call for active and industrious application of limited human faculties.

Keywords:   John Locke, Robert Filmer, First Treatise, probable judgment, divine certainty, Scripture, Filmerian certainty, absolutism, God, human faculties

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