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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 III. PHILOSOPHY OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Chap. I. The Patristic Period

With Proclus ancient philosophy comes to a close. The first period embraces nearly a thousand years, from Thales, 640 B.C., to Proclus' death, 485 A.D. The second period reaches to the beginning of the sixteenth century, to the time of the Reformation, and includes also about a thousand years. Hitherto philosophy fell within the heathen world. From this point onwards it has its place in the Christian world. A new religion has entered the world—Christianity, and with its advent a new note has been struck. Christianity has become a force in life and thought which has to be reckoned with. An event has taken place in the world's history which claims to be all-important for the understanding of God and man. The dualism between subject and object, the separation between the human and the divine which ancient philosophy attempted to overcome, was met in a practical way by the Christian religion.

 

The Incarnation of God in man and the reconciliation of man with God through the God-man, Jesus Christ, gave expression to the very idea which ancient thought had been struggling to realize. We have already seen the preparation for this new phase of God in the various lines of speculation which went forth from Alexandria. It became the task of philosophy to show how the truth, which had been revealed in Christ and was taken for granted on authority, was acceptable to reason and capable of being justified by it. 

From the decline of the school of Alexandria to the revival of learning, the Church became the depository of truth, at once guarding and dominating its expression.

When the Roman empire, weakened and disintegrated by inner moral corruption, became a prey to the incursion of the northern peoples, civilization was in danger of being wholly crushed out, had not the new spiritual power which had grown up within the empire accomplished what neither State nor science could achieve—the intellectual and moral subjugation of the conquerors. Incapable of appreciating the finer results of aesthetic culture and abstract thought, the German hordes, in their rude and primitive state, were conquered by the might of the new Faith. A period of ignorance succeeded the age of Roman brilliance, and all the treasures of Hellenic thought would have been hopelessly lost had not a few Christian scholars within the Church saved a remnant of ancient lore and guarded it till the time when the destroyers were able to appreciate and employ it. The Church as a whole, indeed, was opposed to the cultivation of heathen literature, and during the centuries known as the "dark ages," it was the monasteries which provided a home for learning, and proved the seed-plots from which eventually sprang those fruits of thought which the modern world reaped.

The Church became the educator of the European nations, and its first work was the converting and training of the people of Germanic origin. They were taught its doctrines, but in general there was no question what these doctrines were. They were transmitted as an inheritance from the fathers, a sacred tradition, attested by ecclesiastical authority, and guarded by the Roman hierarchy. There was little room left for theological inquiry or discussion. Thought had to work within prescribed limits, and the task of the mediaeval theologians was simply to give precision and harmony to accepted beliefs and to defend them. Philosophy became subsidiary to revelation, and reason was the handmaid of faith.

Christian philosophy has been divided into two periods. The first begins with the opening of the Christian era, the epoch of the Church fathers, and practically ends with the great father of the Church,—Augustine (354-430), though it is continued by some historians until the ninth century, under the name of the Patristic period.

With that first period the history of philosophy has little to do, except to mention some of the great theologians, whose work it was to formulate the faith of the Church and defend it against heresies within and attacks from without. Some of these we have already referred to when speaking of the leaders of the Alexandrian school, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Hypolitus, Clemens and Origen. We have also to mention the name of Cyprian, who was born at Carthage about A.D. 200, and was the greatest theologian of the so-called African school. As one of the great teachers of the Church, he cannot be passed over, but his work lay not so much in the field of theology or philosophy as that of Church government and discipline.

The most prominent figure among the patristic fathers was St. Augustine, who was born at Tagaste, in Numidia, in 354 A.D. He continued a Pagan till advanced in years, but through the influence of his mother was converted to Christianity. In 397 appeared his Confessions. It is an earnest, sacred, autobiography of one of the greatest intellects the world has ever seen. In 426 he finished his De Civitate Dei, his most powerful work. It is a splendid vindication of the Christian Church, conceived of as a new order rising on the ruins of the old Roman empire, and is not only the most philosophic treatise of Christian theology, but one of the most profound and lasting monuments of human genius.

No mind has exerted a greater influence on thought than that of Augustine. No controversy of the age was settled without his voice, and his comprehensive systematic treatment of the doctrines of the Church became at once the standard of judgment and the basis upon which the structure of mediaeval theology was reared. He was the true teacher of the middle ages. In his philosophy the threads of Christian and Neoplatonic thought, the ideas of Origen and Plotinus, are united. He combines the old and new—preserving the best results of Greek philosophy, but infusing into it the Christian spirit and concentrating the thought of the times upon the great practical needs of the soul—the sense of sin and the necessity of salvation.

 

  Augustine studied in his youth the dialectics of Aristotle, but his philosophy is mainly based on Plato. Faith with Augustine precedes knowledge and is the key to knowledge. What faith holds certain should be verified and comprehended by reason; philosophy and religion have the same goal. The first truth is that of the soul's own existence, which is involved in every conscious thought. Besides our sensations as sources of knowledge, we have reason which seeks after truth and is itself a test of truth.

In God are the rational grounds of all things, and to know ourselves is to know God. The world is the creation of God. The connecting link between God and the world is the Logos, in whom, as the wisdom of all, are the invisible grounds of all created things. The attributes of God are relative to our apprehension. "He is good without quality, great without quantity." Respecting the Trinity Augustine insists on the divine unity. The distinction of the persons is limited to their relations to one another. There is but one substance or essence; but when we speak of three persons, it is because of poverty of language to express the distinction between Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. All the Persons are omnipotent, but these are not three omnipotences. In his conception of the Person of Christ, he gives due weight to the humanity, and he emphasizes the voluntary humiliation of Christ in becoming incarnate. An important element in Augustine's system is his doctrine that God's plan is universal; His will is completely carried out. Nothing lies outside the providence of God; nothing is unimportant or insignificant in the divine economy. Evil exists, but it is really the absence or privation of good. It is, therefore, not an object of creation,—God is not its author. God's will is never defeated. Evil is turned into good, and the opposition of the creature is used to further the divine purpose. Where evil exists God permits it, and wills to permit it. In the Civitas Dei Augustine maintains that there are two communities: one, the City of God, composed of the people of God, destined to everlasting blessedness; the other, the city of the world, composed of the wretched, both of the flagrantly bad and the virtuous according to a human estimate, whose end is eternal misery. With regard to his doctrines of Sin and Grace—the most distinctive part of his theology—he held the corruption of human nature through the fall of man and the consequent slavery of the human will. As a consequence, he affirmed the doctrine of predestination and election. Faith itself is the gift of God. The number of the elect is fixed. Those who believe in the Gospel are not merely elected to be recipients of heavenly reward; they are elected to be recipients of faith. The holy life is the gift of God, and is bestowed on those to whom God, in His inscrutable wisdom, chooses to grant it.

Roman Moralists. Alexandrian Mystics-Philo                        Scholastic Period - Philosophy of the Middle Ages

 

 

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