The Development of Modern Philosophy

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9781500910303: The Development of Modern Philosophy
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This book looks at the history of philosophy over the past few centuries. From the intro: “The impulse which leads us to study the history of philosophy is not mere curiosity. No doubt it is true that he who remains ignorant of the past is for ever a child; but it is not only to accumulate knowledge of what has taken place that one follows the course of past speculation. The history of philosophy is philosophy itself taking its time. When we approach the interests of our own age and try to view them more closely, we rind ourselves reading what has been already written in larger characters in the history of previous thought. The distinctions we draw, as we gradually work out our conceptions, have all their places as stages in the development of previous speculation. We get a fresher and fuller view of what constitutes the peculiarity and significance of these distinctions when we treat them on the larger scale on which they were first presented. Moreover, if philosophy is just the systematic expression of our reflection on the nature and connectedness of experience, it is impossible to divorce it from its past history. Just as the reflective plans of the mature individual are colored by his previous less reflective history, just as the clear self-consciousness of mature thought depends on the less developed primitive conscious ness, so with philosophy as a whole for it might not unfairly be described as the self-consciousness of human reason at large. It is impossible to understand its nature, the character of its problems, the value of the ideas it brings to bear on experience, without help from the history of the way in which reason at large has developed.”

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