By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentatin of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible historical past of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of gigantic erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be diminished to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect by way of writing a whole heritage of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident an highbrow pleasure - and person who supplies complete position to every philosopher, offering his suggestion in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who went prior to and to people who got here after him.
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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 5: Modern Philosophy: The British Philosophers from Hobbes to Hume
53 A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY—V Church and State simply in terms of power. The Church has tried to arrogate to itself an authority which belongs to the civil sovereign; and Hobbes, in a famous passage, likens the Papacy to the ghost of the Roman empire. 'And if a man consider the original of this great ecclesiastical dominion, he will easily perceive that the Papacy is no other than the ghost of the deceased Roman empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof. ' 1 B u t though Hobbes regards the Catholic Church as providing the chief example in the religious sphere of an attempt to steal from the sovereign his rightful authority, he makes it clear that his primary concern is not with anti-Catholic polemics.
Lastly, whatever is moved is not in one place during any time, however brief. If it were, it would, by definition, be at rest. A n y thing which is at rest will always be at rest, unless some other body 'by endeavouring to get into its place b y motion suffers it no longer to remain at rest'. 2 Similarly, if any thing is in motion, it will be always in motion, unless some other body causes it to be at rest. For if there were no other body, 'there will be no reason w h y it should rest now rather than at another time'.
It is scarcely necessary to say that Hobbes has no sympathy with any demand for freedom from law. For law, backed b y sanctions, is the very means which protects a man from the caprice and violence of other men. And to demand exemption from law would be a demand for a return to the state of nature. The liberty which is exalted in the histories and philosophies of the ancient Greeks and Romans is, he says, the liberty of the commonwealth, not of particular men. ' 2 I t is true that many people have found in the writings of the ancients an excuse for favouring tumults and 'licentious controlling the actions of their sovereigns .
A History of Philosophy, Volume 5: Modern Philosophy: The British Philosophers from Hobbes to Hume by Frederick Copleston