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date: 30 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the intersection of early Quaker thought with the emerging scientific and philosophical (epistemological and metaphysical) ideas of the early modern period in which it emerged. Next, a more systematic treatment of a Quaker theory of knowledge, grounded in the immediacy and experience of the Light Within, is presented. The relationship of this Light Within and the early modern emphasis on the natural light of Reason is then explored, followed by an analysis of the relationship between the early Quaker emphasis on experiential knowledge and the early scientific emphasis on experimental knowledge. Finally, the pivotal use made by Quakers of the term ‘truth’, in its epistemological and participatory modalities, is investigated.

Keywords: epistemology, experience, experimental, knowledge, Light of Reason, Light Within, metaphysics, philosophy, science, truth, Quaker

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