A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From by Frederick C. Copleston

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By Frederick C. 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 a long way past the modest function of  its writer to common acclaimas the simplest historical past of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of giant 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 nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be diminished to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by means of writing a whole historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and one who provides complete position to every philosopher, offering his concept in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who got here after him.

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Instead it was closely connected with the idea of social and legal reform. According to Helvetius, for example, the rational control of man's environment and the making of good laws would lead people to seek the public advantage. And d'Holbach emphasized the need for social and political reorganization. With appropriate systems of legislation, supported b y sensible sanctions, and of education, man would be induced by his pursuit of his own advantage to act virtuously, that is to say, in a manner useful to society.

M . p. 287. * 6. INTRODUCTION ii understand how philosophers who were dominated by the ideal of the mathematical method came to think that the application of this method in the philosophical field could lead to the discovery of hitherto unknown truths about reality. In order, however, to appreciate the significance of Descartes' quest for certainty and of his looking to mathematics as a model for reasoning, it is desirable to bear in mind the revival of scepticism which was one of the aspects of Renaissance thought.

As in a mathematical system conclusions flow from the premisses, so in the universe of Nature modifications or what we call things, together with their changes, flow from the one ontological principle, the divine substance. Leibniz, however, tries to combine mechanical causality with teleology. Each monad unfolds and develops according to an inner law of change, but the whole system of changes is directed, in virtue of the pre-established harmony, to the attainment of an end. Descartes excluded from natural philosophy or physics the consideration of final causes.

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