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By Bertrand Russell

In his debatable ebook An define of Philosophy, first released in 1927, Bertrand Russell argues that humanity calls for attention exclusively because the device wherein we collect wisdom of the universe. From our inner-world to the outer-world, from our actual global to the universe, his argument separates glossy medical wisdom and our ‘seeming’ awareness. those cutting edge views on philosophy made an important contribution to the discourse at the that means, relevance and serve as of philosophy which maintains to this day.

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He is so treated in this series and is, accordingly, discussed in a later volume. But it is worth noting that the anti -metaphysical character of the ‘positivist’ movement of the nineteenth century (which Bentham helped to encourage) was also shared by some of the Enlightenment philosophers, such as Condillac and Hume. This anti-metaphysical tendency reflects one point of continuity between the periods covered by this volume and that on The Nineteenth Century. The Enlightenment as it has emerged so far was characterized by more weight being given than formerly to certain values, such as toleration, freedom and reasonableness.

5 The previous volume of the current series—The Renaissance and Seventeenth Century Rationalism—so classifies them. Woolhouse, The Empiricists (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988) in the History of Western Philosophy series. Loeb, for instance, rejects the standard division of the major figures of seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy into either ‘continental rationalists’ or ‘British empiricists’. See his From Descartes to Hume: Continental Metaphysics and the Development of Modern Philosophy, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1981.

6 There are also those who think the period of the so-called ‘Enlightenment’ is too diverse to be accurately presented as if it were a coherent and unified cultural phenomenon. Though I will address these doubts later in this introduction, my main purpose is not so much to lay them entirely to rest as to set the scene for the individual chapters that comprise the substance of the volume. The reader will find that some of these chapters are devoted to a major figure, as are the chapters on Berkeley and Vico, or even, in the case of Locke and Hume, to part of the thought of an individual philosopher.

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