Thursday, April 19, 2012

Charles Page Smith, James Wilson: Founding Father, 1742-1798

I was at the David Library today leafing through various books. The iPhone "works" as a photocopy machine. These are four pages of the above mentioned book that I thought relevant to Wilson's political theology.


Ray Soller said...
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Ray Soller said...
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Phil Johnson said...

Cell phones are great.
I remember some sixty years ago I was in the Chicago Museum of Art with my Voigtlander camera and was setting up to take a picture of some of the statues. Geez, I thought the guards were going to have be thrown in jail. But, with a cell phone, today, I could take all the pictures I want.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I've only done the first page, but here we see James Wilson---typical of the Scottish Common Sense Enlightenment [SCSE]---defending natural law via the "innate moral sense."

He also has a distrust of "reason," that reason---thought---can pervert truth in the mind, working as rationalization.

Or as I like to put it, If you can't lie to yourself, who can you lie to?

And even though [the rather atheistic] David Hume isn't part of the SCSE, he too questions the honesty of human "reason," that we use our brains more to justify our prejudices ["passions"] than use our noodles to come to the right ideas.

And in fact, recent science studying the workings of the human brain seems to back that up...!

Great stuff, Jon, and thank you. As always, the more I read of James Wilson the more I'm stunned at his wisdom, a giant who stands astride the Old World and the New.

And in fact, he was born and educated in Scotland during the SCSE, and happily [for us] moved to America in 1766.

The greatest Founder nobody ever heard of.

[Except for American Creation blog readers, of course, and a few others out there.]

Jonathan Rowe said...

As far as I understand them Hume thought "reason" suffered from the is/ought gap as much as "revelation" did (indeed, I think Hume invented the "is/ought" gap). I think Wilson agreed, "reason" alone was insufficent, but needed "the innate moral sense" to plug what Hume would term the "is/ought" gap. So it's not just "reason," but "reason and the senses." Throw in some revelation and have them all three working together and then you get a complete picture.