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How can we identify the truth in public debate? This question galvanised an extensive and vigorous discourse in eighteenth-century England, as the dispute raged between those who held reason to be sufficient for the discovery of all truth - including religious - and those who judged human reason incapable of accomplishing true understanding without the supplementary guidance and restraint of those with appropriate knowledge, experience, or divine inspiration. As the tension between individual belief and 'experts' attempting to inform ideas permeates contemporary public discourse, what can be learned about the quality of 'truth' from the exchanges between Richard Bentley and Anthony Collins, Daniel Waterland and Conyers Middleton, and Henry Dodwell and John Leland?
Part of the series of Newcastle University Lectures at The Lit & Phil.
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