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By Roger Scruton

Realize for your self the pleasures of philosophy! Written either for the pro pupil of philosophy in addition to the final reader, the popular author Roger Scruton offers a survey of recent philosophy. regularly enticing, Scruton takes us on a desirable journey of the topic, from founding father Descartes to an important and well-known thinker of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein. He identifies all of the vital figures in addition to outlines of the most highbrow preoccupations that experience proficient western philosophy. portray a portrait of contemporary philosophy that's brilliant and lively, Scruton introduces us to a few of the best philosophical difficulties invented during this interval and pursued ever given that. together with fabric on contemporary debates, a quick background of recent Philosophy is already validated because the vintage advent. learn it and discover why.

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Extra info for A Short History of Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Wittgenstein

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In this book Descartes sets forth his life’s aim of directing his reason to the systematic discovery of truth and the elimination of error. The Discourse was followed by Descartes’ masterpiece, the Meditations of First Philosophy, published in Latin in 1641, which was soon followed by sets of objections from various writers together with Descartes’ replies to them. His other major philosophical works were The Principles of Philosophy (1644) and The Passions of the Soul (1649), the first being an ambitious attempt to systematise his philosophical method and derive from it foundations for an account of the physical world.

As late as 1685 William of Ockham’s textbook on logic was standardly used in the University of Oxford, while as early as the Metalogicon of John of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres (1120–1180), the seeds of Renaissance humanism had been sown, and the medieval theories of education thrown in doubt. Nevertheless, it is clear that between these two periods a change took place in the intellectual climate of Europe that could not but have the profoundest repercussions on the history of philosophy. And two philosophers in particular stand out both as embodying the new spirit of criticism and as laying down the 21 22 INTRODUCTION intellectual presuppositions of that style of philosophy which we choose to call modern: Francis Bacon and René Descartes.

One theory is that Descartes held clear and distinct perception to be a guarantee of truth, so that the only error that could occur when working through an argument each step of which is clearly and distinctly perceived would be an error of memory. This error would be eliminated merely by rehearsing the proof at such length that it can be grasped in a single act of intellectual ‘intuition’. Even if this was Descartes’ reply, however, it has not satisfied many of his critics. Indeed, the Cartesian circle remains a major difficulty for the whole method of doubt.

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