Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):pp. 645-646 (2008)

Authors
Julie R. Klein
Villanova University
Abstract
This admirable volume treats the period from Montaigne to Kant. As the editor, Donald Rutherford, promises in his Introduction, the volume reflects the broadly contextualist consensus among scholars in the field over the last few decades. Neither intellectual history nor abstract conceptual analysis, contextualist scholarship looks at the way philosophical ideas develop in concrete settings, within intellectual horizons, and in response to specific philosophical problems. Thus this Cambridge Companion is committed to the idea that a philosopher’s published works must be read in connection with both his or her correspondences, drafts, and other papers, as well as in connection with the thinkers whose works constitute that philosopher’s intellectual environment and matrix. Simply put, contextualist historians of philosophy deny that philosophical work takes place in a conceptual or historical vacuum. Second, this collection reflects the expanding list of important thinkers, works, and issues in the period. The familiar authors Rutherford terms the “canonical seven” —Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz for the “rationalists” and Locke, Berkeley, Hume for the “empiricists,” all
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0077
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