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Hopefully you are fine!

This apparent victory in the Newton Wars of the 1730s and 1740s allowed Voltaire's new philosophical identity to solidify. Especially crucial was the way that it allowed Voltaire's outlaw status, which he had never fully repudiated, to be rehabilitated in the public mind as a necessary and heroic defense of philosophical truth against the enemies of error and prejudice.

I am a bit confused about the usage of the word "way" in the aforementioned excerpt. To specify exactly what is irking me, I will frame my question in the following two points:

1: First of all, my understanding is that if "the way" is eliminated from the sentence, it's meaning will remain intact. Is it correct?

2: Secondly, if "way" is really giving the meaning of "method" here, then shouldn't it be "Especially crucial was the way which allowed" ?

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  • 1: No. 2: Why do you think which would be correct and that not? Can you expand?
    – Kris
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 9:51
  • In fact, "Especially crucial was the way which allowed" shifts the reference of way -- the meaning is lost.
    – Kris
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 9:53
  • @Kris because "way" is a noun. He expects either "the way in which it" or "the way which allowed". Yes, "the way that it allowed" is common usage, but that is not the question. He wants to know the specific grammar of "the way that". Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 10:10
  • @Mushrraf Baig Ashraf, interesting. "Way" is the subject! What about "The way that raccoons wash their food is interesting." I don't have an answer, though. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 10:13
  • And yes, "the way" is actually unnecessary. It was more the fact that it allowed this, not the particular way it did so. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 10:39

1 Answer 1

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  1. No. The context is derived from the complete integrated sentence. "Especially crucial was the way that it allowed Voltaire's outlaw status to be rehabilitated in the public mind as a necessary and heroic defense of philosophical truth against the enemies of error and prejudice."
  2. 'the way' connects to; the process engaged in - route taken, path followed, which ended up helping to change Voltaire's public identity as an outlaw. Used as an alternative; "Especially crucial was the process engaged in which altered Voltaire's outlaw status,"
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  • Thanks for your reply, Norman Edward. And, the alternative which you mentioned really helped me understand the point. And looking at this alternative, I would like to confirm one aspect which may be implied in your reply. Does it mean that in "the way that it allowed" either it or that is redundant. I mean that if we just say "especially crucial was the way that allowed", it should give same meaning, just like in your alternative you said: "Especially crucial was the process engaged in which altered" and didn't mention "it" after "which". Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 19:01
  • @Mushrraf Baig Ashraf In your example, though, the "it" clearly refers to something mentioned in a previous sentence. Do you have the rest of the text to share? Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 7:29
  • @ChuckkHubbard The text is available here: plato.stanford.edu/entries/voltaire It is just in the beginning of the text under the title: "1.5 From French Newtonian to Enlightenment Philosophe (1745–1755)" I hope that you will have a clear picture of it with its pre-context and post-context. Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 9:34
  • This apparent victory in the Newton Wars of the 1730s and 1740s allowed Voltaire's new philosophical identity to solidify. Especially crucial was the way that it allowed Voltaire's outlaw status, which he had never fully repudiated, to be rehabilitated in the public mind as a necessary and heroic defense of philosophical truth against the enemies of error and prejudice." So "it" means the apparent victory from the previous sentence. Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 10:21
  • "that" is not a pronoun here, as in "The way that happened," but a conjunction, as in, "the one that you love." I'd have to check a book to know if that's considered proper, then if I have time, I'll post an actual answer. Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 10:30

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