Download A History of Philosophy, Volume 3: Late Medieval and by Frederick Copleston PDF

By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant 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 goal of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible background of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of large 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 diminished to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate through writing a whole background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and one who supplies complete position to every philosopher, offering his proposal in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to those that went ahead of and to those that got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not likely ever to be handed. inspiration journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A background of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, finished and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 3: Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy: Ockham, Francis Bacon, and the Beginning of the Modern World

Sample text

A posi~ion to consider briefly Ockham's theory of sCience. He diVides sCience into two main types, real science and rational science. The former (scientia realis) is concerned with real things, in a sense to be discussed presently, While the latter (scientia rationalis) is concerned with terms which do not stand immediately for real things. Thus logic, which deals with terms of second intention, like 'species' and 'genus', is a rational science. It is important to maintain the distinction between these two types of science: otherwise concepts or terms will be confused with things.

Only individual things exist; and by the very fact that a thing exists it is individual. There are not and cannot be existent universals. To assert the extramental existence of universals is to commit the folly of asserting a contradiction; for if the universal exists, it must be individual. And that there is no common reality existing at the same time in two members of a species can be shown in several ways. For example, if God were to create a man out of nothing, this would not affect any other man, as far as his essence is concerned.

He does not say that God acts in this way as a matter of fact: he simply says that God could act in this way in virtue of His omnipotence. That God is omnipotent was not, however, for Ockham a truth which can be philosophically proved: it is known only by faith. If we look at the matter from the purely philosophical point of view, therefore, the question of God's producing in us intuitions of non-existent objects simply does not come up. On the other hand, what Ockham has to say on the matter admirably illustrates his tendency, as a thinker with marked theological preoccupations, to break through, as it were, the purely philosophic and natural order and to subordinate it to the divine liberty and omnipotence.

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