The present analysis will spotlight Pope’s Essay On Man and Coleridge’s Rime of an Ancient Mariner. First, I want to show that Coleridge and Pope advocate a pantheistic and a deistic conception of Nature, respectively. This should be the general framework through which I will try to show some other differences. Then, in a second time, the use of a concept like “reason” will be analysed in regard to Pope’s Essay on Man. This step shows that even if Pope is a writer of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, he deeply condemns the arrogance that results of a pretentious use of reason.
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However, a closer look shows reveals Descartes seems to have committed the fallacy of epistemic circularity. The first such criticisms were raised by Arnauld in the Fourth Objections that Descartes “avoids reasoning in a circle when he says that it’s only because we know that God exists that we are sure that whatever we vividly and clearly perceive is true. But we can be sure that God exists only because we vividly and clearly perceive this” (CSM 2:150). Could Descartes have actually overlooked such an obvious circularity that could make all his ‘sciences’ fallible? In my paper, I will introduce another interpretation of the Meditations to break free from the vicious nature of Descartes’s circle.