Workshop: Henry Dodwell
Henry Dodwell: A Controversy Involving Deism, Scepticism, and Fideism
November 04, 2015
Paolo L. Bernardini ((Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Como/Italy)
Diego Lucci (American University, Blagoevgrad/Bulgaria)
The workshop will be centered upon the works and figure of Henry Dodwell the Younger (ca 1705–1784), an author almost forgotten now, but very important and quoted, as well as attacked, in his time. His book ‘Christianity Not Founded on Argument’, published in 1741, reached four editions within a few years and was at a centre of a major controversy involving deism, scepticism, and fideism. Diego Lucci presented and discussed the book in the context of British and continental philosophy of that time, offering a fresh appraisal of a long-forgotten, albeit quite complex and interesting text. Clearly, in the 1740s the most intense season of deism was almost entirely over, and British philosophy had new concerns, beginning with the rise of post-Locke empiricism. The long shadow of Collins, Toland, Tindal, and the other deists was still haunting the theoretical scene. Dodwell’s work can be considered as a bridge between these two concurrent, but evidently interrelated, schools of thought.