By Frederick C. Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest function of its writer to common acclaimas the easiest heritage of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of massive erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect through writing an entire heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, providing his concept in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that got here after him.
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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Leibniz
And it does not refer, of course, to those eighteenth-century writers who rejected Christian dogma. But these writers, though 'rationalists' in a modern sense of the term, were not speculative philosophers after the style of Dcscartes and Leibniz. ' 1 We cannot obtain factual knowledge by a priori reasoning, by quasi-mathematical deduction from alleged innate ideas or principles, but only by experience and within the limits of experience. There is, of course, such a thing as a priori reasoning.
For God transcends our experience. W i t h Hume, therefore, the metaphysics of both Locke and Berkeley go overboard, and both minds and bodies are analysed in phenomenalistic terms. In fact we can be certain of very little, and scepticism may seem to result. But, as will be seen later, Hume answers that we cannot live and act in accordance with pure scepticism. Practical life rests on beliefs, such as belief in the uniformity of nature, which cannot be given any adequate rational justification.
Again, crudely materialistic interpretations of the human mind and of psychical processes were more characteristic of a certain section of French thinkers than of British thinkers of the time. A t the same time, in spite of all differences in spirit and in particular tenets, there was considerable interchange of ideas between the writers of France and England. Locke, for instance, exercised a very considerable influence on eighteenth-century thought in France. There existed in fact a kind of international and cosmopolitan-minded set of thinkers and writers who were united at any rate in their hostility, which showed itself in varying degrees according to circumstances, to ecclesiastical and political authoritarianism and to what they regarded as obscurantism and tyranny.