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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 IV. REVIVAL OF PHILOSOPHY

 

The Reformation marks a new epoch in the history of thought. It is the moment of conversion,—man coming to himself and asserting his individuality. The opposition between ecclesiastical authority and secular life which had begun to disclose itself even in mediaeval times was now forcing itself to the front. Science was beginning to free itself from the bondage of the Roman hierarchy and to set in motion the manifold activities of modern life. The abstract unity of the world is broken up; the tradition and dogmas which the Church had imposed on the nations are burst, and the spirit of man freed from its bonds awakens to the wonders of nature and life. A passionate desire for novelty fills all minds, and a multitude of new interests, political, commercial, scientific, artistic, assert themselves. Philosophy, no longer dominated by theology, becomes fuller and richer in its contents. Knowledge is pursued, not in the interests of a church or a class, but for its own sake. The new birth of the Spirit is that which gives to the period of the Renaissance its character and importance. It is in one sense a return to the standpoint of Greek thought; in another it is a new outlook upon the world and upon life.

Chap. I. The Period of Transition

Three great historical movements may be said to have prepared the way for modern philosophy. These are—the Revival of Learning; the Reformation; and the Rise of the Natural Sciences. Though these, for the sake of convenience, may be distinguished, they were closely connected, and are, indeed, but different manifestations of one movement.

(1) The Revival of Letters or the Renaissance,—which is the comprehensive name for the intellectual movement which marks the transition from the middle ages to the modern world,—was substantially a revolt against the barrenness and dogmatism of Mediaevalism. It claimed an entire liberation of reason, and by its earnest study of the rich humanity of Greece and Rome, sought to rehabilitate the human spirit with all the arts and graces which had invested the classical age. Zeal for the Litterae Humaniores brought forth a new ideal of culture and a new view of life, which have received the name of Humanism.

 

It would be impossible to fix a date for the Revival of Learning. For the first heralds of the New Spirit, we may go back to Petrarch and Dante. Before the close of the Dark Ages, there were already isolated thinkers who anticipated the new light. With the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 numbers of Greek scholars escaped from the east and sought refuge in Italy and the north. 

 The movement spread to every land. In the earliest period of the Renaissance, Florence was the centre of enlightenment. The president of the Republic, Cosimo di Medici, himself a scholar, philosopher, and artist, was the patron of classical learning, the founder of a new Academy of Athens in the gardens of Medici, and the first of a long series of distinguished scholars, among whom may be mentioned Bessarion, Ficino and Pico of Mirandola.

In Germany the new movement produced such notable leaders, who were also leaders of Protestantism, as Melanchthon—who introduced Aristotle—Reuchlin (1455-1522), Erasmus, and Von Hutten.

(2) The second influence closely connected with the Revival of Letters was the Reformation, which began in Germany, but spread to other lands. The revolt against mediaeval tradition, the zeal for learning, the desire for national independence and the direction of men's minds to nature and life, which were affecting every country and every class of society, found religious expression in the spirit of Protestantism. Man awakened to a consciousness of himself. He realized his individual worth and became aware of his spiritual nature. The desire for individual freedom, manifest in the Renaissance generally, is the special note of the Reformation. This tendency showed itself in a revolt against the authority of the Church and by an appeal to private judgment. Man became convinced that within himself the work of salvation must be accomplished: that he stood in a direct relation to God, and needed not for his reconciliation the intervention of the priest. The Bible was translated into the language of the people, and by means of the newly-invented printing press the humblest peasant could read and examine it for himself. The head and front of the Reformation, in Germany at least, was Luther. He did not start on his career as reformer. His first purpose was simply to correct certain religious abuses which came to his notice. He was affected by the Mystics, especially by St. Bernard and the Sermons of Tauler, but his strong practical sense prevented him from adopting the more extreme views of the Pietistic school. His public attitude was the outcome of his own religious history, and his theology, of which the two leading principles were Justification by faith alone and the normative authority of the Bible, was shaped in the crucible of his own experience. But in the development of Protestant dogma Luther's genius was aided by Melanchthon, whose humanistic breadth balanced and corrected the Reformer's dogmatic zeal.

(3) Along with these two movements, which were indeed causes as much as signs of the modern spirit—another has to be added—the Rise of the Natural Sciences and the observation of nature by the method of experience. The discovery of America and the maritime route to India had already widened the visible horizon. The new-world system of Copernicus, who took the decisive step of placing the earth among the planets and the sun in the centre of the system, the scientific investigations of Tycho de Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, Gilbert, and others, overthrew the presumptions which had long held sway and turned men's minds from the distant and unseen world to the possibilities of nature and the interests of actual life. The heliocentric theory aroused great alarm in the Church. Kepler was persecuted. Galileo was forced to retract. But nothing could put back the clock of advancing thought. The new theories spread, discoveries and inventions multiplied. First came the invention of printing, next the compass, and then the telescope. Science began to shake off the yoke of Scholasticism. "Experience" became the watchword of the new period. Luther not less than Erasmus, Descartes as well as Bacon, sought to bring man back to observation and experiment. Everything must be brought to the bar of experience and the test of the human mind. The Protestant right of private judgment takes the form in philosophy of investigation, scrutiny, induction. An opposition is now established between theology and philosophy. Leaving questions connected with the supersensuous world and with man's religious life to the theologians, philosophy betakes itself to what it considers its own proper task of apprehending nature. While theology, therefore, teaches how God reveals Himself in Scripture, it is the business of philosophy to study His revelation in nature. Hence, as has been said, the beginnings of modern natural science were theosophical—a return to the view of the world taken by Neoplatonists—the view of the divine unity of the whole. The world is regarded as a macrocosm—as a mighty living organism of which God is at once the beginning and the end. These views find expression in the most distinguished philosophers of this period—the Italian Bruno, the German Bohme, and, in a less degree, in the French Montaigne.

1. Giordano Bruno of Nola (15501600). After various experiences in Geneva, Paris, London, Wittenberg, and Frankfurt, in 1592 he was imprisoned by the inquisition, and in 1600 burned as a heretic at Rome. Philosophy as well as religion has had its martyrs. His first important work, Della Causa Principio et Uno, reproduces in poetic form the pantheism of Greece. He revives the Stoic idea that the world is co-extensive with God, the substantia Suprasubstantiales, and is instinct in all its parts with the Divine Spirit. Reason, which is present in nature, is the artificer of the material world. Every individual thing, not man merely, is a mirror of the world's substance. Each monad or individual particle is a manifestation of God, and is corporeal as well as spiritual, and, therefore, imperishable. Everything follows the law of its special nature, and is at the same time the expression of a more general law; just as the planet moves at the same time on its own axis and about the sun.

All nature is alive. A World-Soul permeates everything. The universe is a great organism. The eyes of Bruno have been opened to the immensity and diversity of the natural world by the new astronomical theory of Copernicus. Nothing now is limited. By this knowledge we have been loosened from our chains and set at liberty to roam in a most august empire. It is not reasonable to believe that any part of the world is without a soul, life, and sensation. There is but one centre from which all species issue, as rays from the sun, and to which all return. We are surrounded by eternity and united by love. God is the whole, but a whole which is present in every part. He is in the blade of grass, in the grain of sand, in the atom that floats in the sunbeam, as well as in the boundless all.

 

The aim of all philosophy is to discern the unity of matter and form, the sequence of cause and effect. Harmony for Bruno is the inmost nature of the world. The world is perfect because it is the life of God, and to gaze upon its beauty with rapture is the religion of the philosopher. A universal optimism is the note of Bruno's poetic rhapsodies. 

(2) Jacob Böhme of Seidenburg, near Görlitz, in Upper Lusitania (1575-1624), was the son of poor parents. In boyhood he tended cattle, and ultimately became a shoemaker in Gorlitz. He was a humble, God-fearing man, but of excitable nature. Besides the Bible, which he knew well, he had read but a few mystic books, especially those of Paracelsus. He professed to have had supernatural revelations. In 1612 he published his work, entitled Aurora, a strange enigmatic writing, full of dark utterances and wild yearnings—which brought him into trouble with the town authorities. Bohme is the founder of Theosophic Mysticism, and is really the first German philosopher, though his writings have received more attention in Holland and England than in his own country. His ideas lack system, and he deals in metaphors rather than in definite statements.

The ground idea of all things is the absolute divine unity—the harmony of all opposition in God. God is the Urgrund, the original and indistinguishable unity, at once everything and nothing,—which contains in Himself the principle of separation, whereby all things come into existence. His principal, indeed, his only thought, which he never tires reiterating, is the presence of the Holy Trinity in all things.

All knowledge, he holds, is the union of opposites; nothing exists without its counterpart. Every proposition has its antithesis, and no positive truth can be affirmed till its negative is also realized. Indeed, without difference, no knowledge is possible. The "other " must always be opposed by the "one."

This duality runs through the whole world. It rules in Heaven as well as on earth; and since God is the sole cause of all that there is, opposition must be conceived in Him also. Everywhere there is difference. Light can only be revealed in relation to darkness, and God's goodness is only apprehended in connection with His anger.

God can only reveal Himself to us by going out of Himself, and the world is simply the self-manifestation of the Divine.

In "yes" and "no" all things consist. The "yes" is the Divine, pure power and love. The "no" is the counterpart of the Divine, which is necessary to it in order that the Divine may be revealed as active love.

The philosophy of Böhme is an application of the principle of contradiction to the problems of creation and the nature of evil; and, as has been already noticed, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity underlies his conception of the Divine life and its mode of manifestation.

Böhme may be regarded as the complement of Spinoza, while the latter affirms the return of the finite into the infinite, the former emphasizes the issue of the finite from the eternal.

In later times the idea of diversity in unity, which plays such an important part in Böhme's teaching, was developed in a systematic way by Schelling and Hegel.

(3) While the separation between theology and philosophy consequent on the emancipation of the individual led such men as Bruno and Böhme to subjective theosophy, it led others to a light-hearted indifferentism, or even to scepticism.

Wearied with the arid abstractions of the Schoolmen, many of the Humanists regarded all metaphysical speculation with indifference, and conceived that the proper attitude of culture was that of a graceful tolerance or refined scepticism.

Montaigne (1553-1592) has given expression to this aspect of Humanism. Possessed of classical erudition and literary taste, he was one of the earliest to give to French literature a note which it has not lost. Montaigne is largely influenced by such Roman writers as Cicero, and his philosophic thought is tinctured with Pyrrhonism.

In his Essais, as the result of his observation, he gives utterance to the view that all human knowledge is uncertain and reason is always unreliable, therefore, we must in the last resort rest satisfied with faith in revealed truth.

The relativity of opinion, the illusion of the senses, the contradiction between subject and object, the dependence of our reasoning faculties upon the doubtful data of observation—all these arguments of ancient scepticism are revived by Montaigne, not in systematic form, but in the incidental treatment of individual questions.

Aristotelian influence - Philosophy of the Middle Ages             Modern philosophy. Realistic tendency. Bacon

 

 

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