Download A Short History of Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to by Roger Scruton PDF

By Roger Scruton

Realize for your self the pleasures of philosophy! Written either for the pro pupil of philosophy in addition to the overall reader, the popular author Roger Scruton presents a survey of recent philosophy. continuously attractive, Scruton takes us on a desirable travel of the topic, from founding father Descartes to crucial and recognized thinker of the 20 th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein. He identifies the entire central figures in addition to outlines of the most highbrow preoccupations that experience knowledgeable western philosophy. portray a portrait of contemporary philosophy that's brilliant and lively, Scruton introduces us to a couple of the best philosophical difficulties invented during this interval and pursued ever on the grounds that. together with fabric on contemporary debates, a quick background of contemporary Philosophy is already verified because the vintage advent. learn it and discover why.

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Extra info for A Short History of Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Wittgenstein

Example text

Moreover, since I cannot conceive myself except as thinking, it is of my essence to think. ) Now, however hard I try, I can find no other property besides thought which belongs to my essence. For example, although it seems to me that I have a body which I can move at will, I can readily conceive of myself as existing without this body. Hence it is not an essential property of me that I have a body. I could conceivably (although it is a matter of faith that I will in fact) exist after the body’s demise.

But an entity is greater if it does exist than if it does not. Hence it is possible to think of something greater than God—namely an entity which is not only greater than any that can be thought, but which also exists. But this is contrary to the definition. Hence the hypothesis—that God does not exist—must be false. If valid, the argument establishes not merely that God exists, but that he exists by necessity, since it follows from his nature (his essence) that he exists. Later versions (such as that endorsed by Descartes) rely on the idea that existence is a perfection and therefore a property of whatever possesses it.

He criticised the theory of ‘final causes’ (the theory that the cause of an event might be found in its purpose), and with it many of the rationalist preconceptions about causation that we shall encounter THE RISE OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY in later chapters. In place of these ideas he put forward the notion of causality as the generation of one thing from another, in accordance with underlying ‘laws of nature’. He argued that science must always aim at greater and greater universality and abstraction, so ascending ‘the ladder of the intellect’.

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