The History of Philosophy from the Earliest Periods: Drawn up from Bruckner's "Historia Critica Philosophiae": 2 Volumesby William Enfield, Johann Jakob Brucker
William Enfield (1741-97) was an influential dissenting theologian and tutor at Warrington Academy. His "History" is a translation of Johann Jakob Bruckner's "Historia Critica Philosphiae" (first published in six volumes in 1742-67), the most significant and scholarly history of philosophy of the pre-Kantian era. Brucker's classic work is notable for its extensive scholarship, its coverage not only of ancient thought, but also medieval, Renaissance and early modern ideas. An immensely learned and detailed work, it was the principal authority up until the beginning of the 18th century and had a considerable influence on particular upon Kant and the French encylopedists.
Enfield's aim was not to simply translate Brucker's classic work from Latin: not merely translation but representation. This approach proved to very successful and Enfield's "History" has long been considered a standard work. Originally printed in 1791 (with subsequent editions following in 1792, 1819 and 1837), the "History" is arranged into three main periods: "From the Earliest of Times, to the Decline of the Roman Republic", "To the Revival of Letters" and "To the Beginning of the Present Century". The Appendix contains a sketch of the progress and state of philosophy in the Indies and among the Chinese at the beginning of the 18th century.
The "History" is particularly interesting for the insight it gives into how philosophy was understood by the 18th-century scholar. It contains a plethora of references to the relevant literature, and a comprehensive index helps the reader to find their way around the work. This is a reprint of the last edition, 1837, and is published in two volumes with anintroduction by Knud Haakonssen.
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