By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the top background of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of colossal erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by way of writing an entire heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, providing his concept in a fantastically rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who went prior to and to people who got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not likely ever to be handed. idea journal summed up the final contract between students and scholars alike while it reviewed Copleston's A historical past of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, entire and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we won't suggest [it] too highly."
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 7: Modern Philosophy: From the Post-Kantian Idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche
A t the same time, however, he abandons the idea of deducing in a a priori manner the existence and structure of empirical reality and emphasizes the idea of God's free selfrevelation. He does not entirely abandon the idealist tendency to look on the finite as though it were a logical consequence of the infinite; but once he has introduced the idea of a free personal God his thought necessarily departs to a large extent from the original pattern of metaphysical idealism. Needless to say, the fact that both Fichte and Schelling, especially the latter, developed and changed their initial positions does not b y itself constitute any proof that the developments and changes were unjustified.
Or he can try to explain experience as the effect of the thing-in-itself. The first path is obviously that of idealism. The second is that of 'dogmatism'. And in the long run dogmatism spells materialism and determinism. If the thing, the object, is taken as the fundamental principle of explanation, intelligence will ultimately be reduced to a mere epiphenomenon. 1 F, i, p. 423; Af, hi, p. 7. » Ibid. FICHTE (i) 39 This uncompromising Either-Or attitude is characteristic of Fichte. There is for him a clear-cut option between two opposed and mutually exclusive positions.
Or, to put the matter in another way, we see marked divergences from the pattern suggested b y the initial transformation of the critical philosophy into transcendental idealism. For example, Fichte starts with the determination not to go beyond consciousness, in the sense of postulating as his first principle a being which transcends consciousness. He thus takes as his first principle the pure ego as manifested in consciousness, not as a thing but as an activity. B u t the demands of his transcendental idealism force him to push back, as it were, the ultimate reality behind consciousness.
A History of Philosophy, Volume 7: Modern Philosophy: From the Post-Kantian Idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche by Frederick Copleston