John Locke and the Ethics of Belief

John Locke and the Ethics of Belief

This book discusses the ethics of belief that Locke developed in the last book of his Essay: how we ought to govern our opinions, especially on matters of religion and morality. Wolterstorff shows that this concern was instigated by the collapse of a once-unified moral and religious tradition in Europe into warring factions. After presenting Hume's powerful attack on Locke's recommended practice, Wolterstorff argues for Locke's originality and emphasizes his contribution to the "modernity" of post-sixteenth-century philosophy.


"Clearly written, the book makes a valiant effort to understand Locke on his own terms with regard to the rational regulation of belief. It is an important contribution to scholarship on Locke's ethics of belief. Recommended for any library supporting work on philosophy." Choice

"...this is an excellent study to the extent it focuses on Locke. It is thorough, pays careful attention to the text, and is rich in critical engagement with both the most recent work on Locke and recent work relevant to some of Locke's central concerns....the kind of work which out to receive wide readership among historians of philosophy in particular and, in general, among those interested in our intellectual roots." Peter A. Schouls, Philosophy in Review

"This book offers much more than one might expect and hope. True to its title, its lengthy first chapter consists of a tightly disciplined, sharply focused, and textually detailed study of Book IV of the Essay....Wolterstorff then treats us to two beautifully nuanced studies....The immensely careful textual concern of particularly the first three chapters is accompanied by a surprising amount of Pure philosophizing..." R.S. Woolhouse, International Philosophy Quarterly