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A SHORT HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

ARCHIBALD B. D. ALEXANDER - 1922 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Voltaire.
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.

 

A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos
Fénelon

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

 

INTRODUCTION

Part I. GREEK PHILOSOPHY


Its origin and character

PHYSICAL PERIOD
MONASTIC THEORIES
PLURALISTIC THEORIES

MORAL PERIOD
THE SOPHISTS
SOCRATES. Cynics and Cyrenaics

SYSTEMATIC PERIOD
PLATO
ARISTOTLE

Part II. PHILOSOPHY IN THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD

ETHICAL THEORIES
Stoicism. Epicureanism
Scepticism

RELIGIOUS TENDENCIES
Roman Moralists: Seneca, Epictetus, M. Aurelius
Alexandrian Mystics: Philo, Plotinus, Proclus

Part III. PHILOSOPHY OF MIDDLE AGES

THE PATRISTIC PERIOD Augustine and Church Fathers

SCHOLASTIC PERIOD Nominalism and Realism

PLATONIC INFLUENCE
Anselm, Abelard, Peter Lombard

ARISTOTELIAN INFLUENCE
1. Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas
2. Duns Scotus, Francis of Assisi, William of Occam
 

Part IV. REVIVAL OF PHILOSOPHY

TRANSITION PERIOD
1. Revival of Learning
2. Reformation
3. Rise of Sciences
Bruno, Böhme, Montaigne

REALISTIC TENDENCY
Bacon
Gassendi
Hobbes

IDEALISTIC TENDENCY
Descartes

PANTHEISTIC TENDENCY
Geulinx, Occasionalism
Malebranche, Pantheism
Spinoza, Acosmism

Part V. PHILOSOPHY OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT

[Introduction]

SECT. I. ENLIGHTENMENT IN BRITAIN
Empiricism-Locke
Development of empiricism-Berkeley
Sceptical Conclusion-Hume

THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL QUESTIONS
Natural Philosophy
Theological Controversy
Ethical Theories
Scottish Philosophy

SECT. 2. ENLIGHTENMENT IN FRANCE
Earlier Rationalism
Bossuet, Fontenelle, Bayle, Montesquieu, Condillac, Helvetius
Materialistic Tendencies
Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert,  La Mettrie, Holbach, Rousseau

SECT. 3. ENLIGHTENMENT IN GERMANY
INDIVIDUAL IDEALISM—LEIBNITZ

FOLLOWERS OF LEIBNITZ
Thomasius, Tschirnhausen, Wolff

POPULAR PHILOSOPHY
Mendelssohn, Nicolai
Lessing

Part VI. GERMAN IDEALISM


SECT. I. CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY—KANT
INTRODUCTION

KANT'S THEORETIC PHILOSOPHY

KANT'S MORAL PHILOSOPHY

PHILOSOPHY OF ART AND RELIGION

SECT. 2. DEVELOPMENT OF IDEALISM

PHILOSOPHY OF FEELING
Hamann, Herder, Jacobi
Schiller and Humboldt

SUBJECTIVE IDEALISM—FICHTE
1. Science of Knowledge
2. Its Theoretic Principles
3. Its Practical Sphere

OBJECTIVE IDEALISM—SCHELLING
1. Philosophy of Nature
2. Philosophy of Identity
3. Mythology and Revelation

ROMANTIC SCHOOL
1. Novalis and Schlegel
2. Baader and Krause
3. Schleiermacher

 

SECT. 3. ABSOLUTE IDEALISM—HEGELIANISM
CONCEPTION AND METHOD
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
REACTION AGAINST HEGELIANISM
1. Herbart
2. Beneke
3. Schopenhauer

Part VII. MOVEMENTS SINCE HEGEL TO THE PRESENT


GERMAN THOUGHT—AFTER HEGEL
1. Influence of Hegelianism
2. Materialistic Tendency—Haeckel
3. Idealistic Tendency
Fechner, Lotze, Hartmann, Wundt
4. Modern Psychology
5. Neo-Kantianism
Dühring, Schuppe, Ritschl
6. Eucken and Activist Tendency

FRENCH THOUGHT—FROM THE REVOLUTION
1. Cousin and Eclecticism
2. Comte and Positivism
3. Religious Philosophy
4. Philosophy of Development—Taine, Renan, Fouillée

BRITISH PHILOSOPHY IN THE VICTORIAN ERA
1. Utilitarianism—Bentham and Mill
2. Evolution—Darwin and Spencer. Maurice, Newman, Martineau
3. Influence of German Idealism. Caird, Green, Bradley, etc.

THE TREND OF THOUGHT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Anti-Conceptualism—Bergson
Pragmatism—Wm. James
Neo-Realism. Revival of Idealism in Italy. The Philosophy of the Gifford Lectures

 

CONCLUSION

 

BOOKS OF REFERENCE

 

Part V. THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT
Sect. 1. British Enlightenment

Chap. IV. Theological and Ethical questions
[2. Theological Controversy]

2. Theological Controversy. The movement known as English Deism arose as a protest against the Calvinistic and Arminian discussions of the Continent. It was an attempt to free religion from the mysteries of church dogma and the traditional elements of Christianity, and to found it solely on rational grounds. This group of thinkers, though critical rather than openly hostile in their attitude to Scripture, sought to establish natural religion upon the basis of reason without any reference to supernatural Revelation.

 

While there is no general unanimity amongst them, they are united in rejecting everything miraculous in Christianity and regarding the understanding without any help of Revelation as alone competent to discover God and account for the world. This rationalistic tendency had several co-operative influences, among which were the effect of the Copernican discovery upon the views taken of Scripture, as well as the new scientific outlook generally upon the culture of the times.

Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1581-1648) has usually been regarded as the "father of Deism." He was, as Leland says, the first to put Deism into a system. He was a soldier as well as a thinker. While he spent his youth in study, he devoted his later life to travel and activity. He fought in the Dutch wars and became eventually French Ambassador. It was the claim of opposing parties to exclusive possession of the truth that drove him to the task of thinking out the problem of religion for himself. His views are most fully set forth in two Latin works, De Veritate, published in 1624, and De Religione, published after his death in 1663. The former work sets forth the philosophical principles which lie at the foundation of religious inquiry. His second work adduces the five truths, or notitiæ communes, which form the essence of all religion. These are: The existence of God, the duty of worship, the obligations of virtue and piety, the need of repentance, the fact of punishment and reward here and hereafter. He does not directly attack Christianity, but he obviously considers that all religious doctrines are the offspring of superstition and priestly corruption. Religion is an inborn possession of the human mind. God is a postulate of reason not given by revelation, but common to all men.

John Toland (1679-1722) in his work, Christianity not Mysterious, goes a step further, and contends that not only is there nothing contrary to reason in Christianity, but that there is in it nothing above reason. Everything is plain to the understanding, and what cannot be understood is profitless. We have no other faculty by which truth is assured to us. Toland was the first to express the determination which was a characteristic of Deism, to be satisfied with nothing less than a simple and clear explanation of things. Everything that smacked of mystery is to be rejected. The only ground we have for believing anything is not that it was revealed or given by authority, but that it is conformable with the human intelligence. In primitive Christianity there were no mysteries, and those which we now find there were introduced from Judaism and Paganism. His conception of revelation is similar to that of Locke. It was added to the light of reason not because it was actually required by the rational and thinking part of mankind, but as a kind of help to ordinary mortals.

But if revelation be merely "a means of information," it was almost inevitable that the further step should be taken that there is nothing to hinder us from thinking freely about it. This was practically the position of Anthony Collins (1676-1729), the ablest of the Deists. In his Discourse on Free-thinking he maintains that thought cannot be restricted. Without freedom no one could ever be convicted of error. No one is saved by right doctrine. The only crime of a man with regard to belief is not to think freely. The clergy alone have sought to check thought, and it is their whole aim to maintain a certain system of divinity on which their salaries depend. All the greatest men have been free-thinkers. It is an absurdity to imagine that error can be useful and truth hurtful. But, as Bentley replied, free-thinking itself may have its prejudices, and rationalism is as often ready as faith to base its conclusions on rash and unverified assumptions.

Collins' work on Liberty and Necessity is an acute argument in favour of determinism, which, however, drew forth the criticism of Samuel Clarke that there undoubtedly exists in man a principle of self-motion, of voluntary self-determination. If man were not self-moving, he would be simply like a clock, and not a free agent. The argument for necessity from the the prescience of God Clarke met by saying that there might be a previous certainty even of free acts, and that God's foreknowledge is only a power carried to perfection which man partially possesses.

The only other names of this movement worthy of note are Woolston, who contended in his Discourse on the Miracles of our Saviour for an allegorical interpretation of the New Testament; Chubb, Morgan, Bolingbroke, and Tindal. Tindal's treatise, Christianity as Old as Creation, or The Gospel: A Republication of the Religion of Nature, which appeared in 1730, is one of the most characteristic writings of this period. He endeavours to prove the sufficiency of natural religion and to show that Christianity, in so far as it is true, simply republishes it. He lays it down as a self-evident proposition that as God is perfect, He must have given to man the perfect means of knowing and serving Him. From the very beginning, therefore, He must have made religion known to every man. It must on that account be perfectly discoverable by reason, "for the use of reason is the only thing for which all men are responsible."

While it is doubtful whether to reckon Bolingbroke among the Deists or their opponents, the interest of Shaftesbury, though perhaps the most powerful writer of this period, lies in his ethical rather than his purely theological views.

Acuteness rather than profundity of thought characterizes the majority of the Deistic writers. For the most part they lack religious feeling and historical sense. They have no idea of the unfolding of truth or the development of revelation. They conceive of God as standing outside the world, giving to man an initial knowledge once and for all perfect. In their demand for an easy and intelligible scheme of things, they discard everything that conflicts with a narrow rationalism. The general temper of the period was a shallow optimism. God they regard as an easy, tolerant Being who cannot be injured, and, therefore, does not demand reconciliation. Miracles are an excrescence, and the work of Christ is superfluous. There is really no room and no need for revelation in the Deistic scheme of the universe. The world is a vast machine governed by the law of gravitation—a gigantic clock fabricated and set in motion by God, but guaranteed to go without further interference.

Deism was brought to a termination partly by its reduction to scepticism by Hume, and partly by its positive refutation at the hands of Conybeare (1732), and especially Joseph Butler. Butler insists not less than his opponents on the use and validity of reason. "I express myself with caution," he says, "lest I should be mistaken to vilify reason, which, indeed, is the only faculty we have wherewith to judge concerning anything, even revelation itself." But reverence and a sense of our ignorance and insignificance are indispensable to a right understanding of God and our relation to Him. Let us by all means use reason, but "let not such poor creatures as we are, go on objecting against an infinite scheme, that we do not see the necessity of or usefulness of all its parts, and call this reasoning." In his famous work, The Analogy of Religion Natural and Revealed to the Constitution and Course of Nature, published in 1736, he shows that the Christian religion embodies natural religion, the latter being at once the basis and type of the former. While Christianity has a higher authority, it corroborates and completes the laws of reason and virtue by adding the sanctions and obligations which Christ revealed.

Enlightenment in Britain. Natural Philosophy                                Enlightenment in Britain. Ethical Theories

 

 

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