Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) was a writer, philosopher and literary critic whose work was published widely in the nineteenth century. As a young man Stephen was ordained deacon, but he later became agnostic and much of his work reflects his interest ...
in challenging popular religion. This two-volume work, first published in 1876, is no exception: it focuses on the eighteenth-century deist controversy and its effects, as well as the reactions to what Stephen saw as a revolution in thought. Comprehensive and full of detailed analysis, this is an important work in the history of ideas. Volume 1 contains a thorough discussion of the arguments for and against deism. The debate is placed in a wider philosophical context and the works of Descartes, Locke and Hume are all discussed in detail. The volume concludes with an examination of theological thought at the end of the century.