Alexander Pope Questions and Answers

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What does Pope believe human reason is capable of doing?

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An Enlightenment thinker and writer, Alexander Pope believed that rationality and reason are the purview of God and but one creature of God’s creation: man (the human being). Pope posited that humans should use their ability to reason to investigate the natural world and solve all of society’s problems.

He also believes that human beings should limit their intelligence and reason to the study of human society and the natural order, rather than attempting to grasp or analyze God. He writes: “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;/ The proper study of mankind is Man.” (Epistle 2 of Essay on Man

In his Essay on Criticism, he warns that one thing interferes with man’s reason: pride. He writes:   

Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man’s erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

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