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By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the top historical past of philosophy in English.

Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of huge erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the incorrect through writing a whole heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who offers full place to every philosopher, proposing his inspiration in a beautifully rounded demeanour and displaying his links to those that went prior to and to people who came after him.

The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not likely ever to be passed. Thought journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A heritage of Philosophy as "broad-minded and target, complete and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy [Vol VIII]. Modern philosophy, empiricism, idealism, and pragmatism in Britain and America

Example text

It follows, therefore, that proper names, such as John, which can be applied to more than one individual but which have no connotation, possess, strictly speaking, no meaning. It does not follow, however, that the word 'God' has no meaning. For this term is not, according to Mill, a proper name. To be sure, as used by the monotheist the term is applicable to only one being. But this is because, as so used, it connotes a certain union of attributes which in fact limits its range of application. It is thus a connotative term, not a proper name like John or Mary.

But as interest in the problem of freedom of the will is generally prompted by its bearing on ethics and on questions, whether moral or legal, about responsibility, it seems permissible to take the problem out of the general logical setting in which Mill actually discusses it and to consider it here. Mill assumes that according to libertarians, upholders, that is to say, of the doctrine of freedom of the will, 'our volitions are not, properly speaking, the effects of causes, or at least have no causes which they uniformly and implicitly obey'.

For 'it is universally allowed that a syllogism is vicious if there be anything more in the conclusion than was assumed in the premisses. '1 If this were all that Mill had to say on the matter, it would be natural to conclude that for him there are two distinct types of logic. On the one hand there is deductive inference, in which from more general propositions we infer less general propositions. And as the inference is invalid unless the conclusion is precontained in the premisses, no new truth can be discovered in this way.

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