Abstract

Mary Astell's neglected critique of Shaftesbury's Letter Concerning Enthusiasm (1708) rejects his vision of religious tolerance because it is insufficiently committed to the ideals of reason and rational-critical public debate. Insisting on the irrationality of his equation of wit and reason, and pointing to how his text excludes various voices and forms of reasoning, she exposes how Shaftesbury's rhetoric in the Letter both constructs and constrains the public sphere. Her work highlights the cultural facets of political liberalism's construction of religious tolerance and reason, requiring us to reconsider any easy universalization of this Enlightenment conception of religious tolerance and secularism.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 475-494
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-24
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.