By Frederick C. Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background 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 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 nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be diminished to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the incorrect through writing an entire historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and one who supplies complete position to every philosopher, offering his notion in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to those that got here after him.

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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 4: Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Leibniz

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In accordance with his regular programme he asks from what impression or impressions is our idea of causality derived. And he answers that all that we observe is constant conjunction. When, for example, A is always followed by B, in such a way that when A is absent B does not occur and that when B occurs it is, as far as we can ascertain empirically, always preceded by A, we speak of A as the cause and of B as the effect. To be sure, the idea of necessary connection also belongs to our idea of causality.

1 This tendency reached its climax in the philosophy of Hegel in the nineteenth century, though Hegel belongs, of course, to a different period and to a different climate of thought. 3. We have seen that the certainty of mathematics, its deductive method and its successful application in Renaissance science helped to provide the continental rationalists with a model of method and an ideal of procedure and purpose. But there was another side to Renaissance science besides its use of mathematics.

Leibniz, with his ideal of a logical deduction of hitherto unknown truths about reality, might perhaps be expected to adopt a similar monistic hypothesis. And he evidently saw this himself. But in point of fact he put forward a pluralistic philosophy. Reality consists of an infinity of monads or active substances, God being the supreme monad. Thus as far as pluralism is concerned, his philosophy is more akin to that of Descartes than to that of Spinoza. A t the same time he did not believe that there are two radically different types of substances.

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