By Frederick 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 goal of its writer to common acclaimas the simplest historical past of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of large erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning 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 decreased to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate via writing an entire historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and one who offers complete position to every philosopher, offering his suggestion in a fantastically 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
B u t it is none the less worth bearing in mind the fact that the first outstanding continental philosopher of the modern era preserved a great deal of the general scheme of reality which was current in the Middle Ages. When we turn to Spinoza, however, we find a monistic system in which the Cartesian dualism and the Cartesian pluralism are discarded. There is only one substance, the divine substance, possessing an infinity of attributes, two of which, thought and extension, are known to us. Minds are modifications of the one substance under the attribute of thought, while bodies are modifications of the same unique substance under the attribute of extension.
Liberty in the economic sphere was demanded by the so-called 'physiocrats', Quesnay (1694-1774) and Turgot (1727-81). If governments abstain from all avoidable interference in this sphere, and if individuals are left free to pursue their interests, the public advantage will inevitably be promoted. The reason for this is that there are natural economic laws which produce prosperity when nobody interferes with their operation. Here we have the policy of economic laissez-faire. It reflects to some extent the liberalism of Locke; but it is obviously based on a naive belief in the harmony between the operation of natural laws 1 and the attainment of the greatest happiness of the greatest number.
For if utility is the standard, rights are themselves justified only b y their utility. In England, however, this was seen by Hume. Rights are founded on convention, on general rules which experience has shown to be useful, not on selfevident principles or on eternal truths. Liberty in the economic sphere was demanded by the so-called 'physiocrats', Quesnay (1694-1774) and Turgot (1727-81). If governments abstain from all avoidable interference in this sphere, and if individuals are left free to pursue their interests, the public advantage will inevitably be promoted.
A History of Philosophy, Volume 4: Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz by Frederick Copleston