The Rationalists (A History of Western Philosophy)

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9780192192097: The Rationalists (A History of Western Philosophy)

The seventeenth century saw a major revolution in our ways of thinking about such issues as the method appropriate to philosophy and science, the relation between mind and body, the nature of substance, and the place of humanity in nature. While not neglecting the lesser but still influential figures, such as Arnauld and Malebranche, John Cottingham focuses primarily on the three great "rationalists": Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz. He examines how they approached central problems of philosophy, and shows how closely their ideas are related, despite the radically different philosophical systems they produced. He not only places the major thinkers in their historical and philosophical contexts, but engages their ideas in a vigorously critical way, revealing their capacity to throw light on major philosophical topics that are still very much alive today.

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From the Back Cover:

The seventeenth century saw a fundamental shift in our ways of thinking about ourselves and the universe. The reassuring medieval view of an earth - centered cosmos designed expressly for the benefit of human beings had been steadily eroded; yet at the some time there emerged a new optimism about the possibility of developing a clear and comprehensive account of the working of the universe, together with a determination to penetrate the nature of the human mind and its relation to the material world.

About the Author:

John Cottingham holds the Established Chair of Philosophy at the University of Reading.

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