By Frederick C. Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest objective 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 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 was once diminished to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate through writing a whole background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who provides complete position to every philosopher, proposing his idea in a fantastically rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to those that got here after him.
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Extra info for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Leibniz
There is a plurality of finite minds and there is a plurality of bodies. B u t both finite minds and bodies depend on God as creator and conserver. God is, as it were, the link between the sphere of finite spiritual substances and the corporeal sphere. In several important respects the philosophy of Descartes differs very much from the systems of the thirteenthcentury metaphysicians; but if we attend merely to the statement that he was a theist and a pluralist who recognized an essential difference between spiritual and material substances, we can say that he preserved the tradition of mediaeval metaphysics.
Such considerations, as will be seen later, weighed heavily with Descartes. 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.
Some believed in God, others did not. Again, there were considerable differences of spirit between the phases of the Enlightenment in Britain, France and Germany. In France, for example, the characteristic thinkers of the period were bitterly opposed to the ancien rigime and to the Church. In England, however, the Revolution had already taken place, and Catholicism, with its INTRODUCTION ii strict concept of revelation and its authoritarianism, counted for very little, being to all intents and purposes still a proscribed religion.
A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Leibniz by Frederick C. Copleston