Rethinking Early Modern Philosophy

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (2):105-114 (2023)
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This introductory article outlines how this special issue contributes to existing scholarship that calls for a rethinking and re-evaluation of common assumptions about early modern philosophy. One way of challenging existing narratives is by questioning what role systems or systematicity play during this period. Another way of rethinking early modern philosophy is by considering assumptions about the role of philosophy itself and how philosophy can effect change in those who form philosophical beliefs or engage in philosophical argumentation. A further way of advancing early modern scholarship is by examining the tight links between early modern views on metaphysics and epistemology, on the one hand, and moral, social, and political philosophy, on the other hand. Moreover, there are ongoing debates whether and how the traditional distinction between rationalism and empiricism, which has been questioned for several reasons, should be replaced. It has been proposed to replace it with a distinction between experimental and speculative philosophy, but this distinction cannot easily accommodate early modern debates concerning moral, social, and political philosophy. In addition to highlighting several ways how early modern philosophy has and can be rethought, we summarize how the papers in this special issue contribute to these ongoing efforts.

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Author Profiles

Graham Clay
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Ruth Boeker
University College Dublin

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