An Historical Introduction to Modern Philosophy

An Historical Introduction to Modern Philosophy

An Historical Introduction to Modern Philosophy

An Historical Introduction to Modern Philosophy

Excerpt

This book is intended to lead the reader to an understanding of contemporary philosophy, allowing him to play his full part in the intellectual life of this time.

Recent advances in science and logic have effected a radical reorientation of thought, necessitating profound readjustments in our conceptions of the individual, society, and nature. So deep do these changes go that they seem to cut through the living tissue which binds the present to the past. We face unprecedented tasks, to the solution of which the past brings little or no help; yet the tasks are so urgent that only immediate action, unhindered by time-consuming thought, seems to be of avail. To this pressure of urgent and unprecedented tasks comes the modern habit of mind, which assumes that problems arising out of present conditions must and can be solved by a better perception of present activities. How should history help meet the emergency which history has precipitated?

The publication of an historical introduction to philosophy therefore calls for some defense. The full defense of this historical approach must be left to the chapters which follow. These chapters indicate the nature of the problem which has stimulated the development of the western intellect, a problem which has become steadily more insistent, until today its solution is in literal fact a matter of life and death. The problem . . .

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