Frederick C. Copleston's A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From PDF

By Frederick C. Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest function of  its writer to common acclaimas the simplest historical past of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of substantial erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be diminished to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by way of writing a whole background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who provides complete position to every philosopher, providing his idea in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to people who got here after him.

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In the case of man, for example, there is a dynamic or operational unity between the monads of which he is composed. And so it is with the universe. There is~a universal harmony of monads conspiring together, as it were, for the attainment of a common end. And the principle of this harmony is God. The monads are so knit together that, even though one monad does not act directly on another, any change in any monad is reflected throughout the whole system in the divinely pre-established harmony. Each monad reflects the whole universe: the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm.

B u t though Locke asserted the ultimately experimental origin of all our ideas, he did not restrict knowledge to the immediate data of experience. On the contrary, there are complex ideas, built up out of simple ideas, which have objective references. Thus we have, for example, the idea of material substance, the idea of a substratum which supports primary qualities, such as extension, and those 'powers' which produce in the percipient subject ideas of colour, sound and so on. And Locke was convinced that there actually are particular material substances, even though we can never perceive them.

Nowhere do I perceive an underlying, permanent substance or soul. That we have some idea of a spiritual substance can be explained by reference to the working of mental association; but we have no ground for asserting that such a substance exists. Analysis of the idea of spiritual substance, however, does not occupy so prominent a position in Hume's writings as his analysis of the causal relation. In accordance with his regular programme he asks from what impression or impressions is our idea of causality derived.

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