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A History of Philosophy [Vol IX] - download pdf or read online

By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major 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 function of its writer to common acclaim because the top heritage of philosophy in English.

Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of significant erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the incorrect by way of writing a whole historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who offers full place to every philosopher, offering his concept in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went prior to and to those that came after him.

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

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Sample text

The ideologists, regarded by Napoleon as pestilential 'metaphysicians', were not much given to political pronouncements. But their methods had implications in the social field. For example, they insisted on careful analysis of empirical phenomena and on education through discussion. The emperor doubtless thought that the ideologists were concerned with trivialities and useless or unprofitable inquiries; but the fact of the matter is that they were opposed to the idea of moulding the youth to a pattern and to the educational system as envisaged by Napoleon, as well as to his restoration of the Catholic religion in France.

The philosophy required by the nineteenth century is an eclecticism which combines independence of the Church with a rejection of materialism and atheism. In fine, an eclectic spiritUalism is required which transcends the philosophy of sensation of the eighteenth century 1 2 C014rs de philosophie. Hisloirt' de la pllilosopllie. I, p. I4J (Brussels. 1840). , p. u8. • p. J4J. • p. 8. • p. II. ECLECTICISM 45 but does not fall back iDto subservience to ecclesiastical dogma and tutelage. It would not be fair to Cousin to suggest that lle is blind to the fact that this sort of interpretation of the history of development presupposes a philosophy, a definite stand in regard to criteria of truth and falsehood.

To do so is to practise eclecticism. Eclecticism is presented by Cousin as the culmination of an historical process. " In other words, philosophy is the product of the complex factors whieh compose a civilization, even though, once arisen, it takes on a life of its own and can exercise an influence. At the close of the Middle Ages, according to Cousin, the new spirit which arose first took the form of an attack on the dominant medieval power, the Church, and so of a religious revolution. A political revolution came second.

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