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Molyneux’s question

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Author Fasko Manuel, West Peter,
Project Die andere Welt - die Auffassung des Naturgeschehens als Sprache Gottes in den Arbeiten George Berkeleys. Eine kritische Untersuchung.
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Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book Molyneux's Question and the History of Philosophy
Editor , Glenney Brian; , Ferretti Gabriel
Publisher Routledge, London
Page(s) 122 - 134
ISBN 9780367030926
Title of proceedings Molyneux's Question and the History of Philosophy
DOI 10.4324/9780429020377-10

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


William Molyneux was born in Dublin, studied in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and was a founding member of the Dublin Philosophical Society (DPS), Ireland’s counterpart to the Royal Society in London (Hoppen 1970: x). He was a central figure in the Irish intellectual milieu during the Early Modern period and – along with George Berkeley and Edmund Burke – is one of the best-known thinkers to have come out of that context and out of Irish thought more generally. In 1688, when Molyneux wrote the letter to Locke in which he posed the now famous question about a man born blind made to see, he was an active member of the DPS and was on familiar terms with several other key figures in Irish philosophy at the time. For these reasons, the intellectual environment in Dublin and Ireland is where the effects of Molyneux’s famous question would have been most immediately and directly felt. It would be amiss, then, for a survey of the impact and influence of Molyneux’s question to omit an examination of its reception in Early Modern Ireland. Accordingly, our aim in this paper is to chart the reception, and subsequent employment, of Molyneux’s question in one of the most contentious issues taken up by Early Modern Irish thinkers, namely, debates concerning human knowledge of the divine attributes.