By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaimas the simplest historical past of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of gigantic erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be decreased to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect by means of writing a whole heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who provides complete position to every philosopher, proposing his inspiration in a fantastically rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who got here after him.
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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 4: Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz
It is commonly maintained today that pure mathematics as such does not give us factual information about the world. To take a simple example, if we define a triangle in a certain way, it must possess certain properties, but we cannot deduce from this the conclusion that there exist triangles possessing these properties. All that we can deduce is that if a triangle exists which fulfils the definition, it possesses these properties. And an obvious criticism of the rationalists is that they did not understand the difference between mathematical and existential propositions.
B u t it is worth while pointing out in advance that Hume is very much a living philosopher. True, he often expresses in. psychological terms questions and answers which would be expressed in a different w a y even b y those who accept him as being in some sense their 'master'. B u t this does not affect the fact that he is one of those philosophers whose thought is a living force in contemporary philosophy. 4. It is in the seventeenth rather than in the eighteenth century that we see the most vigorous manifestation of the impulse to systematic philosophical construction which owed so much to the 43 A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY—IV new scientific outlook.
One can note that Hobbes, who had personal relations with Mersenne, a friend of Descartes, was acquainted with the latter's Meditations and wrote a series of objections against them, to which Descartes replied. The philosophy of Hobbes excited a sharp reaction in England, In particular the so-called Cambridge Platonists, such as Cudworth (1617-88) and Henry More (1614-87), opposed his materialism and determinism and what they regarded as his atheism. They were also opposed to empiricism and are frequently called 'rationalists'.
A History of Philosophy, Volume 4: Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz by Frederick Copleston