The English Revolutionary Crisis

  • Andrew Milner


In the previous chapter we attempted a rough sketch of the structure of the Protestant rationalist world vision as it developed during the course of the seventeenth-century English revolutionary crisis. We suggested that this world vision, which found political expression in Revolutionary Independency, reveals certain structural affinities with other rationalist philosophical systems, affinities which can be explained by reference to their common sociological origins in specifically bourgeois social groupings. And finally, following Goldmann, we pointed to the contrast between rationalist philosophical systems which are the product of critical bourgeois thought, and empiricist philosophical systems, which are the product of apologetic bourgeois thought. This theoretical opposition between critique and apologia cannot, of course, be understood in terms of the merely subjective orientation of particular thinkers, or even of particular social groups, towards the ‘social system’ conceived in the abstract. On the contrary, it has its origins in the objective differences between different points on that trajectory which the various bourgeois classes have followed through history, and in particular, in the difference between the bourgeoisie’s experience as subordinate class and as superordinate class.


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© Andrew Milner 1981

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  • Andrew Milner

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