2. Thomas Jefferson, la Nature et le droit à l’authenticité L’exemple de la religion

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David Bergeron

Abstract

As an Enlightenment thinker, Thomas Jefferson is strongly influenced by empiricist and nominalist philosophers such as Francis Bacon, John Locke and lord Bolingbroke. Jefferson’s reflections and ideas are thus centred on particulars, whether as natural elements or human individuals. Authenticity, which we define as the fact of, and the right to be ‘oneself’, is naturally consequent to such vision. Individuals are conceived by Jefferson as particular right bearers capable of self-determination and distinct thoughts, choices and actions. For him, such possibility for personal distinctiveness is an individual moral right which should be recognized to everyone. Religious beliefs and practices are but one example. Jefferson positions himself authentically in religion, entertaining his own personal conception of, and relation with, the sacred. His own authenticity, a possibility he defends for each individual, makes him personally distinct, and thus valuable in his own right and way to himself, to society and to humanity.


English title: Thomas Jefferson, Nature and the Right to Authenticity: the Example of Religion


Keywords: Thomas Jefferson, Nature, Authenticity, Rights of Individuals, Deism

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