By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest function of its writer to common acclaimas the simplest historical past of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of huge erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers was once lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect by way of writing an entire background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, providing his inspiration in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to those that got here after him.
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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 4: Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz
If, however, one mentions the influence of Leibniz or his partial anticipation of a thesis maintained by a later thinker, this is not to deny that his system is interesting in itself. 5. The eighteenth century is known as the century of the Enlightenment (also as the Age of Reason). This term can hardly be defined. For though we speak of the philosophy of the Enlightenment, 110 one school or set of determinate philosophical theories is meant. The term indicates, however, an attitude and a prevalent disposition of mind and outlook, and these can be described in a general way.
But in continental rationalism as a whole we can see a tendency towards the speculative rationalization of Christian dogmas. 1 This tendency reached its climax in the philosophy of Hegel in the nineteenth century, though Hegel belongs, of course, to a different period and to a different climate of thought. 3. We have seen that the certainty of mathematics, its deductive method and its successful application in Renaissance science helped to provide the continental rationalists with a model of method and an ideal of procedure and purpose.
Indeed, in a good deal of eighteenth-century French philosophy we can find the same sort of attempt to combine empiricism with elements derived from 'rationalism' that we find in Locke himself. With the utilitarians, however, another point of view comes to the fore. In the writings of Helvetius, for instance, the greatest happiness of the greatest number replaces as the standard of value Locke's natural rights. But Helvetius does not appear to have fully understood that this substitution implied the rejection of the theory of natural rights.
A History of Philosophy, Volume 4: Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz by Frederick Copleston