The Persistent Problems of Philosophy [NOOK Book]


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The Persistent Problems of Philosophy

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940027101770
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER H PLURALISTIC DUALISM:' THE SYSTEM OF DESCARTES "II faut. . . admirer toujours Descartes et le suivre quelquefois." D'alembert. I. The Beginnings Of Modern Philosophy No one has ever written the history of any period of thought or of life without being greatly puzzled about the point at which to begin it. For whatever event be chosen as the first of the chronicle, this hypothetically first event is conditioned by other events. Every history, therefore, begins at a more or less arbitrary point; and the history of moder n philosophy is no exception. The dividing line between the mediaeval and the modern period is one which it is very hard to draw; in other words, it is impossible to enumerate qualities which mark off absolutely the modern from the mediaeval epoch. The mediaeval period seems, however, to be distinguished by these two characters among others: a subordination of thought to revelation, of philosophy to dogma; and a disregard for scientific observation. The first of these attributes of mediaeval philosophy is prominent in the works of philosophers throughout the period. The mediaeval, and especiallythe scholastic, disregard for fact in particular, for the facts of external nature is equally apparent. The thinkers of the Middle Ages so immersed themselves in religious doctrine and in the implied problems of ethics, psychology, and demonology, that they could not be affected by the world of nature. Men who speculated with warm concern on the composition of angels' bodies naturally were uninterested in the organs of an animal's body or in the conformation of the physical world. 1 The clumsiness of a full description, in technical terms, of the differentsystems of philosophy has been avoided in these chapter headings. Two terms are employed, ...
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