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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 I. GREEK PHILOSOPHY

Its origin and character

If we regard philosophy as the quest for the unity and ground of things, then it had its home originally in Greece. Of course, wherever man has emerged from the purely savage state there has existed some kind of reflection regarding existence. At the great centres of oriental civilization, in China, India, and Persia, there may be traced movements of thought and reflective views of the world, but inasmuch as these grew out of mythical fancy and were more or less governed by religious poetic feeling, they cannot be styled in the strictest sense philosophical.

 

So far as we know, the Indians were the only people besides the Greeks who ever had anything that deserves the name of philosophy. No one now suggests that Greek philosophy was derived from India; modern research inclines rather to the belief that Indian philosophy came from Greece. The mysticism of the Upanishads and of Buddhism were indeed of native growth, and profoundly influenced philosophy, but they were not themselves philosophy in the true sense of the word.

 Nor must it be assumed, as it is sometimes alleged, that the Greeks derived their philosophy from Egypt and Babylon. No writer of the period during which Greek philosophy flourished knows anything at all of its having come from the East. Even though we admit, as Herodotus tells us, that the worship of Dionysus and the Doctrine of Transmigration came from Egypt, these did not directly bear upon philosophy. Long before Greek speculation began the Egyptians and Babylonians had made considerable progress in mensuration and astronomical observation, and it is most probable that the Greeks became acquainted in a general way with their methods. But the knowledge which they derived in this way was of an empirical and mechanical order, largely confined to concrete examples and to practical purposes.

But it would be a mistake to say that the Greeks borrowed either their philosophy or their science from the East. They did receive from Egypt certain rules of mensuration which, when generalized, gave birth to astronomy, and from Babylon they learnt the rotary movement of the stars. But their attitude towards the information thus derived was entirely original. Out of the particular rules and ascertained facts they evolved general principles and propounded speculative problems which had never occurred to either the Egyptians or Babylonians.

All beginnings are obscure, and in accounting for the intellectual character of a people there is a certain individual element which eludes analysis. This is specially true of the Greeks. As a people they had peculiar gifts and qualifications, partly indeed derived from their composite social origin and partly due to their geographical position—an insatiable curiosity, a faculty of generalization, a broad and varied interest in life, and a sense of beauty and fitness—which fitted them for their special mission of being the pioneers of philosophical inquiry. Hellas was a sea-girt mountain land; her back was turned to the north and west; her bays and islands faced east and south. On the one side her impregnable mountains defended her from invasion, and on the other her broken coastline afforded a natural stimulus to commerce and emigration. If her sense of independence and national life was fostered by her geographical position, her love of beauty was developed by the wealth and variety of nature for which the land of Greece is pre-eminent.

Still the principal factor in the development of the intellectual life of Greece must be sought in her system of Colonization. The sea naturally wooed the daring and enterprising; and the islands in close proximity to the mainland formed convenient ports of call for commerce and suitable homes for her increasing population. From the earliest period there arose a vast circle of Greek plantations, which stretched not only along the coast of Asia Minor but to Southern Italy and Sicily, and even to Spain. By this way the Greeks were brought into contact with other nations—not only was the race enriched by intermarriage, but their mental horizon was enlarged. Local customs, tribal prejudices and religious beliefs embodied in the national mythologies, quickly disappeared before the wider outlook which the settlers obtained in their new surroundings. The new knowledge of the world which they acquired as traders and seafarers continually enlarged their ideas, while their active and adventurous life not only broke up their old habits of thought, but stimulated their natural curiosity and versatility of mind.

 

  It was not therefore in Athens but in the outlying colonies, which were in advance of the mother country in mental and political progress, that the new intellectual awakening began. It was only after the Persian war that Athens became the centre of culture and thought as well as the focus of national life. The west coast of Asia Minor is the cradle of the intellectual civilization of Greece. It was there that new answers were first given to the eternal questions of mankind—what is the meaning of God, of the world, of self?—and these new answers gradually replaced or transformed the earlier religious beliefs.

Of the primitive view of the world which obtained in Greece we have little knowledge. The magic rites and savage myths which prevailed before the dawn of history faded away like a mist before the breeze of a larger experience and more fearless curiosity. Even in the earliest poets, Homer and Hesiod, in whom the religion of Greece found its expression, the mythical element had begun to be eliminated. In Homer the gods had become human, and everything savage was kept largely out of sight. Hesiod offers the first crude attempt at constructing a world-system. The so-called Orphic Cosmogonies had the Hesiodic theogony for their basis. But they, no more than he, seek to account for the origin of things by natural causes. In Pherecydes of Syros, for the first time the philosophical spirit finds expression. The feature common to all the earlier poetic cosmogonies is the attempt to get behind chaos or 'the gap' and put Kronos or Zeus at the beginning of things. These fantastic conceptions are anticipations of the rational explanation of nature.

That which gave to the thinkers of Ionia the distinction of being the awakeners of thought was that they were the first who, as Professor Burnet says, 'left off telling tales.' Philosophy dates its origin from the day when those cosmologists, or 'physicians,' as Aristotle terms them in contrast to their predecessors, the theologians, relegated the traditional gods to the domain of fable and sought to explain nature by principles and causes. Yet philosophy in her earlier stages did not at once discard the garb of mythology. She still continued to express herself in the rhythmical language of the poets, and even her conceptions were tinged with the religious faith from which she sprung. The gods were not at once abolished, but their nature and actions were explained.

Greek philosophy was first devoted to the consideration of the problems of nature. What is the primitive element from which all things take their rise? The so-called ' seven wise men,' of whom Thales, Bias and Solon are the best known, were the representatives of a certain form of worldly wisdom and prudential morality, certainly most remarkable for the age in which it appeared, but not sufficiently reflective or connected to be termed philosophy.

Later, under the impulse of social and political life, research turned from outward being to the inner nature of man. Philosophy was first objective and then subjective. Ultimately, after positive results had been reached in the field of human nature, there arose those great constructive systems of philosophy—of Plato and Aristotle—which have given to Greek thought its distinctive character and pre-eminence.

Three periods of Greek philosophy may be, therefore, distinguished.
       1. A Physical or Cosmological period, which deals with the question of being—extending from about 600 B.C. to 450 B.C.
        2. A Humanistic or Ethical period, which treats of the nature of man in his moral and social relations—extending from 450 B.C. till about 400 B.C.
        3. A Systematic period, in which an attempt was made for the first time to bring all questions of being and life into one connected whole—extending from about 400 B.C. till 300 B.C.

Introduction                                                                                  Greek Philosophy. Early Monastic Theories

 

 

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