Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring 2013
Richard Whately’s Influence On John Henry Newman’s Oxford University Sermons On Faith And Reason (1839–1840)
In 1839 and 1840, Newman preached four Oxford University Sermons, which critiqued the evidential apologetics advocated by John Locke (1632-1704) and William Paley (1743-1805) and subsequently restated by Richard Whately (1787-1863). In response, Newman drew upon Whately’s earlier works on logic and rhetoric to develop an alternative account of the reasonableness of religious belief that was based on implicit reasoning from antecedent probabilities. Newman’s argument was a creative response to Whately’s contention that evidential reasoning is the only safeguard against superstition and infidelity.