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Ancient and Modern Celebrated Freethinkers

Reprinted From an English Work, Entitled ''Half-Hours With The Freethinkers.''

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Published: 1877
Language: English
Wordcount: 110,152 / 325 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 59.6
LoC Category: BL
Downloads: 2,988
Added to site: 2009.10.07 25480
Genre: Philosophy

In these pages, appearing under the title of "Half-Hours with the Freethinkers," are collected in a readable form an abstract of the lives and doctrines of some of those who have stood foremost in the ranks of Free-thought in all countries and in all ages; and we trust that our efforts to place in the hands of the poorest of our party a knowledge of works and workers—some of which and whom would otherwise be out of their reach—will be received by all in a favorable light. We shall, in the course of our publication, have to deal with many writers whose opinions widely differ from our own, and it shall be our care to deal with them justly and in all cases to allow them to utter in their own words their essential thinkings.

Show Excerpt

the people do assent unto, is the same that I assent unto; namely, that a man hath freedom to do if he will; but whether he hath freedom to will, is a question which it seems neither the Bishop nor they ever thought of.... A wooden top that is lashed by the boys, and runs about, sometimes to one wall, sometimes to another, sometimes spinning, sometimes hitting men on the shins, if it were sensible of its own motion, would think it proceeded from its own will, unless it felt what lashed it. And is a man any wiser when he runs to one place for a benifice, to another for a bargain, and troubles the world with writing errors, and requiring answers, because he thinks he does it without other cause than his own will, and seeth not what are the lashings which cause that will?"

Hobbes casually mentions the subject of "praise or dispraise," in reference to the will; those who are old enough will remember this was one of the most frequent subjects of discussion amongst the earlier Socialists. "These depend not



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