Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary / Edition 1

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Part of the Blackwell Readings in the History of Philosophy series, this survey of late modern philosophy focuses on the key texts and philosophers of the period whose beliefs changed the course of western thought.

  • Gathers together the key texts from the most significant and influential philosophers of the late modern era to provide a thorough introduction to the period.
  • Features the writings of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz, Kant, Rousseau, Bentham and other leading thinkers.
  • Examines such topics as empiricism, rationalism, and the existence of God.
  • Readings are accompanied by expert commentary from the editors, who are leading scholars in the field.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is an excellent anthology with selections that are shrewdly chosen and insightfully introduced, including several in ethics that are unusual but quite important, such as Adam Smith, Richard Price, and Mary Wollstonecraft.”
Stephen Darwall, University of Michigan

“A rich and wisely chosen collection of key eighteenth-century texts, distinctive in covering not only epistemology and metaphysics, but moral and political philosophy.” Kenneth P. Winkler, Wellesley College

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Elizabeth S. Radcliffe is Professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University. Her areas of specialization include Hume, ethical theory, motivational psychology, and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy. She is the author of On Hume (2000), editor of A Companion to Hume (Blackwell, 2007), and was co-editor of the journal Hume Studies from 2000 to 2005.

Richard McCarty is Associate Professor of Philosophy at East Carolina University. His research focuses on Kant and the history of modern philosophy.

Fritz Allhoff is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University. His main areas of research are ethical theory, applied ethics, and the philosophy of biology/science. His work has been published in, among other places, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, the International Journal of Applied Philosophy, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal.

Anand Jayprakash Vaidya is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at San José State University. His research is in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind.

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Table of Contents


General Introduction.

Part I: Empiricism.


1. Essay concerning Human Understanding: John Locke.

2. Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists: George Berkeley.

3. An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding: David Hume.

4. A Treatise of Human Nature: David Hume.

Part II: Critics of Empiricism.


5. New Essays concerning Human Understanding: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

6. The Leibniz–Clarke Correspondence: Gottfried Leibniz and Samuel Clarke.

7. An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense: Thomas Reid.

Part III: Kant’s Critique of Rationalism and Empiricism.


8. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics: Immanuel Kant.

Part IV: Arguments for the Existence of God.


9. A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God: Samuel Clarke.

10. Natural Theology: William Paley.

11. Dialogues concerning Natural Religion: David Hume.

12. Critique of Pure Reason: Immanuel Kant.

Part V: Political Philosophy.


13. Second Treatise on Government: John Locke.

14. Of the Original Contract: David Hume.

15. On the Social Contract: Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Part VI: Moral Philosophy.


16. Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion: Samuel Clarke.

17. A Treatise of Human Nature: David Hume.

18. A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals: Richard Price.

19. The Theory of Moral Sentiments: Adam Smith.

20. Lectures on Ethics: Immanuel Kant.

21. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: Immanuel Kant.

22. Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind: Thomas Reid.

23. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: Jeremy Bentham.

24. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: Mary Wollstonecraft.

Suggestions for Further Reading.


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