By Stuart Brown
Ecu philosophy from the past due 17th century via many of the eighteenth is commonly conceived as `the Enlightenment', the interval of empirical response to the good 17th century Rationalists.
This quantity starts off with Herbert of Cherbury and the Cambridge Platonists and with Newton and the early English Enlightenment. Locke is a key determine in overdue chapters, because of his significance either within the improvement of British and Irish philosophy and due to his seminal effect within the Enlightenment as a complete. British Philosophy and the Age of Enlightenment contains dialogue of Scottish Enlightenment and its impression at the German Aufklarung, and for this reason on Kant. French concept, which in flip affected the overdue radical Enlightenment, specially Bentham, is usually thought of here.
This survey brings jointly transparent, authoritative chapters from top specialists and gives a scholarly advent to this era within the background of philosophy. It contains a word list of technical phrases and a chronological desk of significant political, philosophical, medical and different cultural occasions.
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Additional info for Routledge History of Philosophy, Volume V : British Empiricism and the Enlightenment
There are indeed other notions that have been or might be put forward as central to understanding the development of philosophy in this period. For instance, the development of the laity or the use of ordinary language as the vehicle for articulating philosophical ideas are possible centres of focus. Alternatively one might attend to the secularization of philosophy or the growth of the demand for rational religion. But, while each of these perspectives can enrich our understanding of the period, serious distortions can result from focussing on a single perspective to the exclusion of others.
Modern philosophy, by contrast, sought to deal in a currency (‘ideas’) which the whole of humankind was supposed to have in common. Descartes’s approach was taken further by Nicholas Malebranche (see Volume IV in this series), who not only wrote exclusively in French but very largely for a lay readership, especially when he wrote in the dialogue form. Philosophical discussion thus began to look continuous with the social world of conversation between equals, in which there is due consideration for how one’s utterances may be received, respect for the judgement of others, and so on.
But this is not to say that Locke was inconsistent inasmuch that such elements are compatible with a broad empiricism. Insofar as empiricism was widespread in the eighteenth century, it was of the broader sort. 46 Though it is natural to extend the demand that arguments are only drawn from experience into ethics and natural theology, there is no necessity to do so. The best known defender of rationalism in ethics and natural theology in eighteenth century England was Samuel Clarke (1675–1729). In the first of his two series of Boyle Routledge history of philosophy 11 lectures,47 Clarke argued a priori for the existence of God and, in the second, he sought to argue that there were eternal truths of ethics which, like those of mathematics, were grasped by reason.
Routledge History of Philosophy, Volume V : British Empiricism and the Enlightenment by Stuart Brown