'Modern' philosophy in the West is said to have begun with Bacon and Descartes. Their methodological and metaphysical writings, in conjunction with the discoveries that marked the seventeenth-century scientific revolution, are supposed to have interred both Aristotelian and scholastic science and the philosophy that supported it. But did the new or 'modern' philosophy effect a complete break with what preceded it? Were Bacon and Descartes untainted by scholastic influences? The theme of this book is that the new and traditional philosophies have more in common than the orthodox account suggests. In two survey articles and thirteen essays on individual philosophers, the contributors show that the rise of modern philosophy was much more complicated and much more interesting than is usually thought. They consider not only metaphysics and the sciences but also claims of Machievelli, Hobbes and Spinoza to have invented 'modern' ethics and politics. These two aspects of 'modernity' in philosophy are connected for the first time.The book offers a broad view of the early modern philosophers, covering not only the much-studied major figures but also relatively neglected writers: Mersenne, Gassendi, White, and Sergeant.
The Rise of Modern Philosophy
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