History of Modern Philosophy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 841 pages of information about History of Modern Philosophy.
The investigation of the reason ends in “reverential doubt”:  I neither accept revelation nor reject it, but I reject the obligation to accept it.  My heart, however, judges otherwise than the reflection of my intellect; for this the sacred majesty and exalted simplicity of the Scriptures are a most cogent proof that they are more than human, and that He whose history they contain is more than man.  The touching grace and profound wisdom of his words, the gentleness of his conduct, the loftiness of his maxims, his mastery over his passions, abundantly prove that he was neither an enthusiast nor an ambitious sectary.  Socrates lived and died like a philosopher, Jesus like a God.  The virtues of justice, patriotism, and moderation taught by Socrates, had been exercised by the great men of Greece before he inculcated them.  But whence could Jesus derive in his time and country that lofty morality which he alone taught and exemplified?  Things of this sort are not invented.  The inventor of such deeds would be more wonderful than the doer of them.  Thus again, in the question of revealed religion, the voice of the heart triumphs over the doubts of the reason, as, in the question of natural religion, it had done over the objections of opponents.  It is true, however, that this enthusiasm is paid not to the current Christianity of the priests, but to I the real Christianity of the gospel.

Rousseau was the conscience of France, which rebelled against the negations and the bald emptiness of the materialistic and atheistic doctrines.  By vindicating with fervid eloquence the participation of the whole man in the highest questions, in opposition to the one-sided illumination of the understanding, he became a pre-Kantian defender of the faith of practical reason.  His emphatic summons aroused a loud and lasting echo, especially in Germany, in the hearts of Goethe, Kant, and Fichte.



In the contemporaries Spinoza and Locke, the two schools of modern philosophy, the Continental, starting from Descartes, and the English, which followed Bacon, had reached the extreme of divergence and opposition, Spinoza was a rationalistic pantheist, Locke, an empirical individualist.  With Leibnitz a twofold approximation begins.  As a rationalist he sides with Spinoza against Locke, as an individualist with Locke against Spinoza.  But he not only separated rationalism from pantheism, but also qualified it by the recognition (which his historical tendencies had of themselves suggested to him) of a relative justification for empiricism, since he distinguished the factual truths of experience from the necessary truths of reason, gave to the former a noetical principle of their own, the principle of sufficient reason, and made sensation an indispensable step to thought.

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History of Modern Philosophy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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