By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest function 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 potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be decreased to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by way of writing a whole historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and one who provides complete position to every philosopher, featuring his proposal in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who went ahead of and to people who got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a background of philosophy that's not going ever to be handed. idea journal summed up the final contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A heritage of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, entire and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 3: Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy: Ockham, Francis Bacon, and the Beginning of the Modern World
I have given it special mention here because of the use made of it by Ockham in his discussion of the problem of universals. But in any history of mediaeval logic prominence would have to be given to the theory of consequences or of the inferential operations between propositions. In his Summa Logicae 1 Ockham deals with this subject after treating in turn of terms, propositions and syllogisms. But in the De puritate artis logicae2 of Walter Burleigh the theory of consequences is given great prominence, and the author's remarks on syllogistics form a kind of appendix to it.
Demonstration of a property of man, for example, presupposes an intuitive knowledge of men. '! Ockham is here arguing that we cannot have a natural knowledge of the divine essence as it is in itself, because we have no natural intuition of God; but the principle is a general one. AU knowledge is based on experience. What is meant by intuitive knowledge? '1 Intuitive knowledge is thus the immediate apprehension of a thing as existent, e:1abling the mind to form a contingent proposition concerning the existence of that thing.
The words are different, but their meaning is the same. Ockham distinguished, therefore, both the spoken word (terminus prolatus) and the written word (terminus scriptus) from the concept (terminus conceptus or intentio animae) , that is, the term considered according to its meaning or logical significance. Ockham called the concept or terminus conceptus a 'natural sign' because he thought that the direct apprehension of anything causes naturally in the human mind a concept of that thing. Both brutes and men utter some sounds as a natural reaction to a stimulus; and these sounds are natural signs.