Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Victorian Scientific NaturalismCommunity, Identity, Continuity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Bernard Lightman and Gowan Dawson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226109503

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226109640.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

The Conduct of Belief: Agnosticism, the Metaphysical Society, and the Formation of Intellectual Communities

The Conduct of Belief: Agnosticism, the Metaphysical Society, and the Formation of Intellectual Communities

Chapter:
(p.220) 8 The Conduct of Belief: Agnosticism, the Metaphysical Society, and the Formation of Intellectual Communities
Source:
Victorian Scientific Naturalism
Author(s):

Paul White

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226109640.003.0009

This chapter uses the London Metaphysical Society, a community that cut across vocational and confessional boundaries, to re-examine the construct of “scientific naturalism” and the frameworks (secularization, professionalization, and class conflict) that have structured our view of intellectual groups as diametrically opposed in the Victorian period. It focuses on a series of debates between clergymen and men of science about the nature of belief, including the famous coining of the term “agnosticism” by T. H. Huxley. These debates shifted attention away from the content of belief toward belief as a practice, especially the process of conscientious doubt and enquiry which was integral both to scientific method and the religious life of many liberal Anglicans and some dissenters. Agnosticism and the Metaphysical Society were conceived together in a period when the role of elite culture was challenged from a variety of quarters.

Keywords:   agnosticism, belief, doubt, Metaphysical Society, T. H. Huxley, secularization, professionalization, elites

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.