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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

 

INTRODUCTION

CONCEPTION. HISTORY. DIVISION

Philosophy, according to its definition, is the love of wisdom, and may be said to be in general the mind's search for truth or unity. Tradition assigns the first employment of the word to Pythagoras. With him it meant the pursuit of knowledge, but in so far as the nature of the knowledge which the philosopher seeks is not specified, the name is vague. Socrates represented by the word the modesty of the truth-seeker in contrast to the arrogant pretensions of the Sophists. Plato distinguished philosophers as those who are able to grasp the eternal and immutable. The Greek thinkers in general asked what is the permanent reality which underlies the diversity and change of the visible world around us. If we turn again to modern times we find philosophy variously defined.

 

 
    
Hegel calls it "the thinking consideration of things." Philosophy, he says, defines all else, but cannot itself be defined. The philosopher aims at unity in his conception of the universe, and seeks to discover the reality which underlies the assumptions of the common mind, and to bring into one consistent whole the multiplicity of the phenomena perceived by the senses.

Ferrier has defined philosophy as "the pursuit of absolute truth, that is, of truth as it exists for all intelligences."

"By philosophy," says Windelband, "present usage understands the scientific treatment of the general questions relating to the universe and human life."

Philosophy deals with the same material as the separate sciences. But while they take what is given for granted, it searches to the ultimate grounds of being and from the infinite mass of contingencies deduces one universal principle. In other words, while the particular sciences deal with their own special provinces of nature or life, philosophy, as the mother of the sciences, takes all knowledge as her province and investigates the postulates which the particular sciences assume.

The question as to the utility of philosophy is a vain one. It is a necessary exercise of the human mind. That which distinguishes man from the lower animals is his power to think. But thought, just because it is thought, cannot rest. It is ever going out of itself to find its object, and it claims all that is as its theme. "Wonder," says Aristotle, "is the parent of philosophy." Surrounded by the universe in its varying manifestations, confronted by life and its ever-changing forms, man is moved with a feeling of mystery and awe, and he asks the "why," the " wherefore" and the "whither" of things. The world of being is a riddle to him. The attempt to answer the ever-haunting question—"What am I?" "What is this world of which I form a part?"—the desire to know things in their reality and unity—that is philosophy.

Just because the asking of these questions is itself philosophy, there can be no final philosophy. The mind can never call a halt and say, "the riddle of being is solved." Philosophy advances with life and must exist as long as life. In one sense, every thinker must begin anew, but in another, it is also true that the ages are linked together and each generation builds on its predecessor. Just as there exists no complete empirical science, so there is no absolute philosophy, but only what may be called a succession of time-philosophies, which advances with the empirical sciences, and without claiming for itself any mechanical order, presents on the whole a recognisable intellectual development.

It may be said to be the province of the history of philosophy to set forth those successive time-philosophies in their proper sequence and proportional relationship. The history of philosophy does not always move steadily forward, but has sometimes to make a seemingly retrograde movement that it may recover some neglected phase of thought. Yet, on the whole, thought, like life, is an evolution, the successive stages of which it is the business of the history of philosophy to exhibit.

It was Hegel who first made of the history of philosophy an independent science, and regarded it not simply "as a motley collection of the opinions of various learned gentlemen about all manner of subjects, but rather a necessary logical process in which the ' categories' of reason have successively attained distinct consciousness and reached the form of conceptions."

This valuable principle, true in the main, has been pursued by Hegel, here as elsewhere, at the expense of chronological order; and facts have been not seldom distorted or at least subordinated to the necessary dialectic movement of thought." The History of Philosophy," it has been truly said, "depends not solely upon the thinking of 'Humanity' or even of the 'Welt-Geist,' but just as truly upon the reflections, the needs of mind and heart, the presaging thought and sudden flashes of insight, of philosophising individuals."

In dealing with the history of philosophy, there are therefore three principal factors which must be taken account of in its construction.

(1) The necessary, or logical factor, according to which the problems are in the main given. The great fundamental questions are constantly recurring and are ever anew demanding a solution—problems which the human mind cannot escape, and which by a logical necessity are evolved the one from the other.

(2) Along with the logical, or necessary factor, there is a second factor contributed by the history of civilization. Philosophy receives both its problems and the material for their solution from the ideas of the times and from the needs of the society amid which it exists. The results of science, the movement of religious thought, the intuitions of art, the revolutions of social and political life, supply the impulses and mould the tendencies of philosophy, bringing into prominence now one question, now another.

 

(3) A third factor in the shaping of the history of philosophy is the individual factor. The course of philosophical thought has been undoubtedly directed by outstanding personalities, whose life and thought have contributed elements which have enriched its general development. While in one sense individuals are often the product rather than the inspiration of their times, there is another in which great minds by their originality and grasp have exercised a far-reaching and decisive influence on philosophy. 

It may be interesting to observe the external conditions under which philosophy has been cultivated. At first, in early Greek times, it was cultivated in closed schools. The Guilds or orders, with their strict rules of discipline, would seem to indicate a religious origin of philosophic pursuit.

In the Roman period these unions were loosened, and we find writers like Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, who cultivated reflection, by themselves, neither as members of a school nor as professed teachers.

But again, in the middle ages, philosophy under the influence of the Church had its seats principally in the Monasteries, and was pursued by the various religious orders, such as the Dominican and Franciscan. With the beginning of the modern period philosophy once more passed beyond the cloisters into the open, and was carried on by the literary men of the period. Not until the middle of the eighteenth century did philosophy become domesticated in the Universities. This took place first in Germany, but gradually the movement spread to Britain, France and Italy.

The share which the various nations have taken in the development of philosophy also deserves attention. As with European civilization generally, so it is with philosophy. It was first cultivated on Greek soil, and the creative faculty of that gifted race gave the form and direction to the problems which have continued down the ages to exercise the mind of man. Rome, of practical rather than reflective genius, contributed little to the development of philosophy proper. The Romans looked to Greece and Alexandria for their philosophy, and the Church of Rome derived from the same sources its profoundest theories of existence. With the Romans originality took the form of law. In creating their marvellous legal system they were impelled not by motives of literary production, but by the instinct of social development. Thus the treasures of Roman jurisprudence were the result of the organic growth of the State.

The scientific culture of the middle ages was international, and the distinguished names of Scholasticism belong to various nationalities, while Latin was the language of learning and communication.

It is with modern philosophy that the special character of the individual nations discloses itself. Modern philosophy may be said to begin in Germany; thence it spread to England and Scotland. Specially from the inquiries of Locke and Hume it received a particular bias, exerting its influence both in France and Germany. In the latter country, from the time of Kant onwards, it has been, in a special sense at home.

It has been customary to divide the history of philosophy into three periods—Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Philosophy. While in general we may observe this division, it will be convenient to subdivide the entire history of European philosophy into seven parts, as follows:

1. Greek philosophy, from Thales to Aristotle.
        2. Philosophy in the Greco-Roman world.
        3. Mediaeval philosophy or scholasticism, from fifth to fifteenth century.
       4. The revival of philosophy or the renaissance, from fifteenth to seventeenth century.
        5. The philosophy of the enlightenment, from Locke to Kant.
        6. Philosophy of Germany, from Kant to Hegel.
       7. The development of philosophy since Hegel in Europe and America to the present time.

                                                                                                        Greek Philosophy - Origin and Character

 

 

 

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