Frederick Charles Copleston's A History of Philosophy [Vol IV] PDF

By Frederick Charles Copleston

ISBN-10: 0385468431

ISBN-13: 9780385468435

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy [Vol IV]

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The executive appointed by the people is simply the servant or practical instrument of the people. This doctrine of popular sovereignty represents the democratic side of Rousseau's political theory. He himself came from Geneva, and he admired the vigorous and independent political life of the Swiss canton, which he contrasted with the sophisticated and artificial atmosphere of French civilization and with the monarchic constitution and oppressive ways of the ancien regime. Indeed, Rousseau's ideas about active popular government would be quite impracticable in anything but a Greek city-state or a small Swiss canton.

However, when we find historians interpreting history as the working-out of some kind of general plan or reducing historical development to the operation of certain universal laws, it is reasonable to begin speaking of philosophy of history. A man who endeavours to write, for instance, the objective history of a particular region would not normally, I think, be classed as a philosopher of history. We are not accustomed to speak of Hume or of Justus Moser (author of an Osnabruckische Geschichte, 1768) as philosophers of history.

On the one hand he was faced by the scientific conception of the world, with the physical universe of Copernicus, Kepler and Newton, as subject to mechanical causality and determined in its motions. On the other hand he was faced by the rational creature who can understand the physical world, set over against it, so to speak, as subject to object, who is conscious of moral obligation and of freedom, and who sees in the world the expression of rational purpose. How can these two aspects of reality be reconciled?

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A History of Philosophy [Vol IV] by Frederick Charles Copleston


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