By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible background of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of titanic erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate via writing a whole heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and person who provides complete position to every philosopher, featuring his suggestion in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to those that went sooner than and to people who got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not likely ever to be exceeded. concept journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A historical past of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, entire and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we won't suggest [it] too highly."
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 1: Greece and Rome: From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus
107. k a o w i T w e learn the fragments) insisted that nothing could be ' nothing would be clear or perspicuous, unless it had or was number. i36 PRE-SOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY shape (limited), while the even gnomons present a continually changing rectangular shape (unlimited). 1 When it came to assigning definite numbers to definite things, scope was naturally allowed for all manner of arbitrary caprice and fancy. For example, although we may be able to see more or less why justice should be declared to be four, it is not so easy to see why xaip6<; should be seven or animation six.
Frags. 60, 36. 4 Frag. 51. • Frag. 54. • Frags. 38, 61, 37. " 1 This is, of course, the inevitable c o n c l u s i o n of a pantheistic philosophy—that everything is justified sub specie aeternitatis. Heraclitus speaks of the One as God, and as wise: "The wise is one only. "* God is the universal Reason (A6yo<;), the universal law immanent in all things, binding all things into a imity and determining the constant change in the universe according to universal law. Man's reason is a moment in this universal Reason, or a contraction and canalisation of it, and man should therefore strive to attain to the viewpoint of reason and to live by reason, realising the unity of all things and the reign of unalterable law, being content with the necessary process of the universe and not rebelling against it, inasmuch as it is the expression of the all-comprehensive, all-ordering A A ^ or Law.
But the Pythagorean School had a distinguishing characteristic, namely, its ascetic and religious character. Towards the end of the Ionian civilisation there took place a religious revival, attempting to supply genuine religious elements, which were catered for neither by the Olympian mythology nor by the Milesian cosmology. Just as in the Roman Empire, a society verging towards its decline, its pristine vigour and freshness lost, we see a movement to scepticism on the one hand and to "mystery religions" on the other hand, so at the close of the rich and commercial Ionian civilisation we find the same tendencies.