By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest function of its writer to common acclaim because the top historical past of philosophy in English.
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Additional info for A History of Philosophy, Volume 9: Modern Philosophy from the French Revolution to Sartre, Camus, and Lévi-Strauss
But the term can be understood in a wide sense. And nowadays the situation has altered from what it was in Saint-Simon's time. /I We are reminded of the famous passage in Hume's introduction to the Treatise, in which he envisages placing the science of man on a solid foundation of experience and observation. 58 FROM THE REVOLUTION TO AUGUSTE COMTE SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY IN FRANCE 59 At the same time Saint-Simon thinks in terms of the extension of the approach and method of classical physics, considered as definitive in its main lines, to the study of man.
In 1820 the Ecole Normale was closed, and Cousin lost his chair. He then set about editing the works of Descartes and of Proclus and started translating Plato. In 1828 he was restored to his chair, and with the accession to the throne of Louis-Philippe his day had come at last. In 1830 he became a councillor of State, in 1832 a member of the Royal Council and director of the Ecole NOI:male, in 1833 a peer of France and in 1840 minister of public instruction. In the years of his glory he was to all intents and purposes not only the official philosopher of France but also a philosophical dictator who described the French philosophers of philosophy as his 'regiment' and excluded from the teaching staff of the Sorbonne those of whom he disapproved, such as Comte and Renouvier.
Eclecticism is presented by Cousin as the culmination of an historical process. " In other words, philosophy is the product of the complex factors whieh compose a civilization, even though, once arisen, it takes on a life of its own and can exercise an influence. At the close of the Middle Ages, according to Cousin, the new spirit which arose first took the form of an attack on the dominant medieval power, the Church, and so of a religious revolution. A political revolution came second. 's Both revolutions expressed the spirit of freedom, which was then manifested in the science and philosophy of the eighteenth century.