"One of the great historic controversies in philosophy," according to Bertrand Russell, is that between empiricists--"best represented by the British philosophers, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume"--and rationalists. This book sets the empiricists in their contemporary and cultural context, examines their various approaches to philosophy, and highlights the significance of their ideas to 20th-century thinking. By focusing on what the "empiricists" actually have to say, rather than on their classification as such, Woolhouse incidentally shows how unreliable these conventional labels can be.
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