A History of Philosophy [Vol VIII]. Modern philosophy, by Frederick Copleston

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By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the top background of philosophy in English.

Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of substantial erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers was once reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the incorrect by way of writing a whole heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who supplies full place to every philosopher, providing his inspiration in a beautifully rounded demeanour and displaying his links to those that went sooner than and to people who came after him.

The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not going ever to be handed. Thought journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A background of Philosophy as "broad-minded and aim, accomplished and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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If we omit the existential proposition which we have surreptitiously introduced, we can see that the definition is purely verbal, concerned simply with the meaning of a name. '! Looked at from one point of view, as a portion of speculative truth, as Mill puts it, this means that the attributes of man are always accompanied by the attribute of being mortal. And under analysis this means that certain phenomena are regularly associated with other phenomena. But we can also look at the proposition under the aspect of a memorandum for practical use.

On the one hand we can infer propositions from others which are equally or more general. On the other hand we can infer propositions from others which are less general than the propositions inferred from them. In the first case we have what is commonly called deductive inference or ratiocination, while in the second case we have inductive inference. Now, according to Mill there is 'real' inference only when a new truth is inferred, that is, a truth which is not already contained in the premisses.

I, p. 261, Dote (I, 2, 5, I, Dote). 1 J. S. MILL: LOGIC AND EMPIRICISM 61 rather difficult to see what justification there is for speaking of 'hypotheses' at all. Nor is the situation improved when Mill says that to call the conclusions of geometry necessary truths is really to say that they follow correctly from suppositions which 'are not even true'. 1 What he means, of course, is that the necessity of the conclusions consists in the fact that they follow necessarily from the premisses. But if we were to take literally the suggestion that necessary truths are necessary because they follow from untrue assumptions, we should have to say that Mill was talking nonsense.

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