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Compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet


MODERN PHILOSOPHY

 

 

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.

 

READING

General introductions

A. J. Ayer, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century.

J. Passmore, A Hundred Years of Philosophy; Supplement: Recent Philosophy.

R. Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Wittgenstein.

D. West, An Introduction to Continental Philosophy.

Collection of essays

D. Rutherford (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Philosophy.