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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

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On Samuel Clarke's Four Types of Deists

1Hjalmars väg 5D, 263 33 Höganäs, Sweden

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. Volume 93, Issue 1, Pages 85–99, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: 10.1515/agph.2011.004, March 2011

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This paper features a detailed philosophical classification of the four types of deists that Samuel Clarke presents in the second series of the Boyle Lectures for promoting Christianity (1705). In the course of this paper I determine, for each type of deist, the truth values of twelve important propositions, and I show that these four types of deists may be categorized as (1) ‘no-providence’, (2) ‘physical-laws-providence’, (3) ‘moral-but-no-afterlife’, and (4) ‘moral-and-afterlife’. Using an accompanying table of propositions as a visualization tool, I also show that Clarke's account of these four types of deists may be thought of as ‘progressively Christian’: for each type of deist, from lower-number deists to higher-number deists, there is an increasing number of truth values that are Christian-like.

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