Compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet
To all intents and purposes the philosophy
of William of Ockham in the fourteenth century marks the end of the medieval
era. While vestiges of scholasticism
lingered on in the works of a few thinkers, Renaissance and modern philosophy
was now to become an autonomous and largely secular activity in its own right
and one which had to come to terms with the rise of the natural sciences, shorn
of their Aristotelian assumptions. To be
sure, most of the major philosophers remained committed to Christianity, or at
the very least subscribed to some form of theism, but, whether as rationalists
or empiricists, they concerned themselves primarily with problems of
metaphysics, and more particularly with investigations into the nature and
scope of knowledge, without regard to the impact of their findings on religious
belief. More recently, from the late
nineteenth century to the present day we have seen the emergence of pragmatism,
language analysis, and other new approaches to philosophical problems, such as
existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and critical theory.
Ayer, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century.
Passmore, A Hundred Years of Philosophy; Supplement: Recent Philosophy.
Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Wittgenstein.
D. West, An Introduction to
Rutherford (ed.), The Cambridge
Companion to Early Modern Philosophy.