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The Origins of Agnosticism

Victorian Unbelief and the Limits of Knowledge

Bernard Lightman

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Originally published in 1987. The Origins of Agnosticism provides a reinterpretation of agnosticism and its relationship to science. Professor Lightman examines the epistemological basis of agnostics' learned ignorance, studying their core claim that "God is unknowable." To address this question, he reconstructs the theory of knowledge posited by Thomas Henry Huxley and his network of agnostics. In doing so, Lightman argues that agnosticism was constructed on an epistemological foundation laid by Christian thought. In addition to undermining the continuity in the intellectual history of…

Originally published in 1987. The Origins of Agnosticism provides a reinterpretation of agnosticism and its relationship to science. Professor Lightman examines the epistemological basis of agnostics' learned ignorance, studying their core claim that "God is unknowable." To address this question, he reconstructs the theory of knowledge posited by Thomas Henry Huxley and his network of agnostics. In doing so, Lightman argues that agnosticism was constructed on an epistemological foundation laid by Christian thought. In addition to undermining the continuity in the intellectual history of religious thought, Lightman exposes the religious origins of agnosticism.

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The Origins of Agnosticism

Bernard Lightman

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
264
ISBN
9781421431406
Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. The Power of Modern Agnosticism
Chapter 1. The Agnostic Conundrum
Chapter 2. Mansel and the Kantian Tradition
Chapter 3. Herbert Spencer and the Worship of

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. The Power of Modern Agnosticism
Chapter 1. The Agnostic Conundrum
Chapter 2. Mansel and the Kantian Tradition
Chapter 3. Herbert Spencer and the Worship of the Unknowable
Chapter 4. Disillusionment with and Attack on Orthodoxy
Chapter 5. Religion, Theology, and the Church Agnostic
Chapter 6. The New Natural Theology and the Holy Trinity of Agnosticism
Conclusion. The Tragedy of Agnosticism
Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Bernard Lightman, Ph.D.

Bernard Lightman is a professor of the history of science at York University. He specializes in the relationship between science and unbelief in the Victorian era, and he is a former president of the History of Science Society.