A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain

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A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain is a philosophical pamphlet by Benjamin Franklin, published in London in 1725.

It argues that an omnipotent, benevolent God is incompatible with notions of human free will and morality. The second portion of the pamphlet goes on to formulate that all motivations are derived from pain and that pain is met with an equal amount of pleasure. He then concludes that this means that man cannot be superior to animals because we are all equal in God’s eyes. Franklin acknowledges how offensive this idea would be to the reader.

The point of the pamphlet seems to be that Christian Calvinism, which Franklin was raised with as a child, cannot logically be a moral way to live.


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