By Frederick C. Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaimas the simplest heritage of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of large erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the lifestyles of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by means of writing a whole heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and one who offers complete position to every philosopher, offering his inspiration in a fantastically rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that got here after him.
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Leibniz
And he answers that to say that a material thing exists is to say that it is perceived by a subject. Hume asks what it means to say that A is the cause of B, and he gives a phenomenalistic answer. Moreover, in the philosophy of Hume we can find all the main tenets of what is sometimes called 'logical empiricism'. That this is the case will be shown later. 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'.
Provided that the word 'rationalistic' is not understood as necessarily referring to rationalism in the sense explained in section two of this chapter, one can say that the general spirit of the Enlightenment was rationalistic in character. That is to say, 34 A HISTORY OF P H I L O S O P H Y — I V the typical thinkers and writers of the period believed that the human reason was the apt and only instrument for solving problems connected with man and society. Just as Newton had interpreted Nature and had set the pattern for the free, rational and unprejudiced investigation of the physical world, so should man employ his reason for interpreting moral, religious, social and political life.
He had, indeed, a particular motive for dwelling at INTRODUCTION ii length on this point. For he considered that belief in material substance was a fundamental element in materialism, which, as a devout Christian, he was intent on refuting. B u t he had, of course, other grounds for attacking Locke's thesis. There was the general empiricist ground or reason, namely, that material substance as defined b y Locke is an unknowable substrate. W e have, therefore, no clear idea of it, and we have no warrant for saying that it exists.
A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Leibniz by Frederick C. Copleston