By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest objective of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible heritage of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of massive erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers was once reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the inaccurate via writing an entire historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who supplies full place to every philosopher, proposing his suggestion in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went earlier than and to those that came after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not going ever to be passed. Thought journal summed up the final contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A background of Philosophy as "broad-minded and target, entire and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we won't suggest [it] too highly."
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy [Vol IX]
In his account of social change Saint-Simon lays great emphasis on the basic importance of ideas. For example, the beliefs and ideas of the Middle Ages exercised a determining influence on the social and political institutions of the time,2 while the development of the sciences and the transition to the stage of positive knowledge demands and leads to the creation of new social and political structures. In thus emphasizing the basic role played by ideas he is linked with Comte rather than with Marx.
New religion was for him the old religion, in regard, that is to say, to what he considered to be the essential and permanently valuable element in the old religion. We can say perhaps that Saint-Simon envisaged a 'secularized' Christianity. The 'new Christianity' was Christianity as relevant to the age of the industrial society and of positive science. Saint-Simon was not a systematic thinker. He advanced numerous lines of thought but tended to leave them only partly developed and did not make any prolonged effort to combine them in a systematic manner.
In spite however of his activity the Saint-Simonian school started to decline after the split between himself and Hazard. 64 FROM THE REVOLUTION TO AUGUSTE COMTE The influence of Saint-Simon was not confined to those who can be classified as disciples. Outside their ranks the two most important thinkers who derived stimulus from his thought were doubtless Auguste Comte and Karl Marx. Both Marx and Engels admired Saint-Simon. It is true that Marx criticized him, as we have already noted, for failing to understand the class antagonism between capitalists and workers and for concentrating, in Marx's opinion, on glorifying bourgeois society in comparison with feudalism.
A History of Philosophy [Vol IX] by Frederick Copleston
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