Kant believed that true enlightenment is the use of reason freely in public. This is the first book to trace systematically the philosophical origins and development of the idea that the improvement of human understanding requires public activity. Michael Losonsky focuses on seventeenth-century discussions of the problem of irresolution and the closely connected theme of the role of volition in human belief formation. This involves a discussion of the work of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza, and Leibniz. Challenging the traditional views (...) of seventeenth-century philosophy and written in a lucid, nontechnical language, this book will be eagerly sought out by historians of philosophy and students of the history of ideas. (shrink)
This first volume in the Clarendon Hume presents a definitive new scholarly edition of one of the greatest works in the history of philosophy. In this elegant and lucid Enquiry Hume gives an accessible presentation of his fully developed ethical theory. The distinguished Hume scholar Tom Beauchamp presents an authoritative text accompanied by introduction, annotation, glossary, biographical sketches, bibliographies, and indexes.
Many philosophers believe that the traditional problem of our knowledge of the external world was dissolved by Wittgestein and others. They argue that it was not really a problem - just a linguistic `confusion' that did not actually require a solution. Bruce Aune argues that they are wrong. He casts doubt on the generally accepted reasons for putting the problem aside and proposes an entirely new approach. By considering the history of the problem from Descartes to Kant, Aune shows that (...) analogous arguments create difficulties for the contemporary philosophical consensus. He makes it clear that the problem remains acute, particualarly for our understanding of scientific evidence. The solution he proposes draws upon contemporary philosophy of science and probability theory. (shrink)
This volume brings together some of the best articles on Descartes published in the last fifty years. Edited by the renowned Descartes specialist John Cottingham, the selection covers the full range of Descartes's thought, including chapters on the central issues in Cartesian metaphysics, the relationship between mind and body, human nature and the passions, and the structure of scientific explanation.
This book is the first to explore in detail the role that symbolic representation plays in the architecture of Kant's philosophy. Symbolic representation fulfills a crucial function in Kant's practical philosophy because it serves to mediate between the unconditionality of the categorical imperative and the inescapable finiteness of the human being. By showing how the nature of symbolic representation plays out across all areas of the practical philosophy - moral philosophy, legal philosophy, philosophy of history and philosophy of religion - (...) Heiner Bielefeldt offers a unique perspective on how these various facets of Kant's philosophy cohere. (shrink)
This book argues that science and metaphysics are closely and inseparably interwoven in the work of Descartes, such that the metaphysics cannot be understood without the science and vice versa. In order to make his case, Thomas Vinci offers a careful philosophical reconstruction of central parts of Descartes' metaphysics and of his theory of perception, each considered in relation to Descartes' epistemology. Many authors of late have written on the relation between Descartes' metaphysics and his physics, especially insofar as the (...) former was intended to justify the latter. Vinci's work does not focus on this relation. It takes as a broad interpretive principle that Descartes wanted to justify a certain picture of matter with his metaphysics, but it focuses its own efforts on the way in which metaphysics and science meet in Descartes' theory of sense-perception. Vinci aims to show that Descartes gave an important positive role to sense-perception in his epistemology, and also that he used his reflections on sense-perception to frame his criticism of previous theories of the sensory qualities of objects. (shrink)
This book is concerned with the role of economic philosophy ("ideas") in the processes of belief-formation and social change. Its aim is to further our understanding of the behavior of the individual economic agent by bringing to light and examining the function of non-rational dispositions and motivations ("passions") in the determination of the agent's beliefs and goals. Drawing on the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, the book spells out the particular ways in which the passions come to affect (...) our ordinary understanding and conduct in practical affairs and the intergenerational and interpersonal transmission of ideas through language. Concern with these problems, it is argued, lies at the heart of an important tradition in the British moral philosophy. This emphasis on the non-rational nature of our belief-fixation mechanisms has important implications: it helps to clarify and qualify the misleading claims often made by utilitarian, Marxist, Keynesian, and neo-liberal economic philosophers, all of whom stress the overriding power of ideas to shape conduct, policy, and institutions. (shrink)
Demonstrating that in George Berkeley's last major work, Siris, Berkeley had converted to a belief in the usefulness of the concept and existence of minute particles, Moked here posits that Berkeley developed a highly original brand of corpuscularian physics.
This is the first, and indeed the definitive systematic account of the wide-ranging philosophical ideas of Leibniz. The author, a highly respected analytical philosopher, has brought his own formidable abilities to bear on the unwieldy and inaccessible corpus of Leibniz's work.
Philosopher, theologian, educational theorist, feminist and political pamphleteer, Mary Astell was an important figure in the history of ideas of the early modern period. Among the first systematic critics of John Locke's entire corpus, she is best known for the famous question which prefaces her Reflections on Marriage: 'If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?' She is claimed by modern Republican theorists and feminists alike but, as a Royalist High Church Tory, the (...) peculiar constellation of her views sits uneasily with modern commentators. Patricia Springborg's study addresses these apparent paradoxes, recovering the historical and philosophical contexts to her thought. She shows that Astell was not alone in her views; rather, she was part of a cohort of early modern women philosophers who were important for the reception of Descartes and who grappled with the existential problems of a new age. (shrink)
This unique textbook--the first to offer balanced, comprehensive coverage of all major perspectives on the rational justification of religious belief--includes twenty-four key papers by some of the world's leading philosophers of religion. Arranged in six sections, each representing a major approach to religious epistemology, the book begins with papers by noted atheists, setting the stage for the main theistic responses--Wittgensteinian Fideism, Reformed epistemology, natural theology, prudential accounts of religious beliefs, and rational belief based in religious experience--in each case offering a (...) representative sample of papers by leading exponents, a critical paper, and a substantial bibliography. A comprehensive introductory essay and ample cross-references help students to contrast and evaluate the different approaches, while the overall arrangement encourages them to assess the full range of philosophical positions on the issue. Carefully selected to provide both a comprehensive overview of current work and a series of modern perspectives on many classic sources--Swinburne's detailed discussion of Hume's critique of the design argument, for example, as well as an entire section evaluating and extending Pascal's famous Wager--the essays also provide a uniquely readable survey that will be useful in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy of religion and epistemology. (shrink)
This accessible and practical edition of Kant's best introduction to his own work is designed especially for students. Assuming no prior knowledge of the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, esteemed scholar Gunter Zoller provides an extensive introduction that covers Kant's life, the origin and reception of the Prolegomena, the organization of the work, its principal arguments, and its philosophical significance. Detailed notes, a chronology, a glossary, an annotated bibliography, and two reviews of the Critique of Pure Reason--which establishes the specific (...) intellectual background of the Prolegomena--are also included. (shrink)
David Hume's Treatise on Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding are amongst the most widely-studies texts on philosophy. Hume's Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction presents in a clear, concise and accessible manner the key themes of these texts. Georges Dicker clarifies Hume's views on meaning, knowledge, causality, and sense perception step by step and provides us with a sharp picture of how philosophical thinking has been influenced by Hume. Accessible to anyone coming to Hume for the first time, Hume's (...) Epistemology and Metaphysics is an indispensible guide to Hume's philosophical thinking. (shrink)
George Berkeley -- On missing the wrong target -- Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment in Irish philosophy -- The culmination and causation of Irish philosophy -- Francis Hutcheson on Berkeley and the Molyneux problem -- The impact of Irish philosophy on the American Enlightenment -- Irish ideology and philosophy -- An early essay concerning Berkeley's immaterialism -- Mrs. Berkeley's annotations in An account of the life of Berkeley (1776) -- Some new Bermuda Berkeleiana -- The good bishop : new letters -- Beckett (...) and Berkeley. (shrink)
Arguing About Political Philosophy is an engaging survey of political philosophy perfect for beginning and advanced undergraduates. Selections cover classic philosophical sources such as Rousseau and Locke, as well as contemporary writers such as Nozick and Dworkin. In addition, this text includes a number of readings drawn from economics, literature, and sociology which serve to introduce philosophical questions about politics in a novel and intriguing way. As well as standard topics such as political authority and distributive justice, special attention is (...) given to global issues which have become especially pressing in recent years, such as the right of individuals or groups to secede, the nature of global distributive justice, the morality of immigration, and the moral status of war and terrorism. (shrink)
Europe and England in the seventeenth century -- John Locke : his life -- Essay concerning human understanding and other works -- Influences on Locke -- The meaning of Locke's philosophy -- The influence and importance of Locke's work and ideas.
The Skeptic’s Oakeshott poses the thesis that Michael Oakeshott’s political philosophy is best understood from the vantage point of his skepticism and his intellectual affinity to Hobbes. Margaret Thatcher based much of her political philosophy on Oakeshott’s theories, but Gerencser shows how she widely misinterpreted his work. He argues persuasively against those who understand Oakeshott in terms of the influence of British idealism. Instead, Gerencser argues that Oakeshott adopts and softens Hobbes' idea of consent as the basis of political authority. (...) By insisting that political authority has its source in acknowledgement and recognition, Oakeshott’s philosophy opens the doors to democratic politics. The book ends with persuasive criticisms of Oakeshott. (shrink)
At least since Locke, philosophers and psychologists have usually held that concepts arise out of sensory perceptions, thoughts are built from concepts, and language enables speakers to convey their thoughts to hearers. Christopher Gauker holds that this tradition is mistaken about both concepts and language. The mind cannot abstract the building blocks of thoughts from perceptual representations. More generally, we have no account of the origin of concepts that grants them the requisite independence from language. Gauker's alternative is to show (...) that much of cognition consists in thinking by means of mental imagery, without the help of concepts, and that language is a tool by which interlocutors coordinate their actions in pursuit of shared goals. Imagistic cognition supports the acquisition and use of this tool, and when the use of this tool is internalized, it becomes the very medium of conceptual thought. (shrink)
Unlike most of the other great philosophers, Leibniz never wrote a magnum opus, so his philosophical correspondence is essential for an understanding of his views. This collection of new essays by preeminent figures in the field of Leibniz scholarship is the most thorough account of Leibniz's philosophical correspondence available. It illuminates his philosophical views and pays due attention to the dialectical context in which the relevant passages from the letters occur.
This is the most up-to-date, brief and accessible introduction to Kant's ethics available. It approaches the moral theory via the political philosophy, thus allowing the reader to appreciate why Kant argued that the legal structure for any civil society must have a moral basis. This approach also explains why Kant thought that our basic moral norms should serve as laws of conduct for everyone. The volume includes a detailed commentary on Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant's most widely studied (...) work of moral philosophy. The book complements the author's much more comprehensive and systematic study Immanuel Kant's Moral Theory (Cambridge, 1989), a volume that has received the highest critical praise. With its briefer compass and non-technical style this new introduction should help to disseminate the key elements of one of the great modern philosophies to an even wider readership. (shrink)