By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible historical past of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of mammoth erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers was once decreased to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect by means of writing an entire heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, proposing his idea in a fantastically rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that went sooner than and to those that got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a heritage of philosophy that's not likely ever to be passed. proposal journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike while it reviewed Copleston's A background of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, complete and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 8: Modern Philosophy: Empiricism, Idealism, and Pragmatism in Britain and America
And it is also clear that Mill assumes that to act in such a way as to develop a harmonious integration of the powers of human nature or of the human person is commendable. It is not the purpose of these remarks to suggest that in the opinion of the present writer utilitarianism either in its original Benthamite form or in the somewhat incoherent shape that it assumes with J. S. Mill, is the correct moral philosophy. The point is that though in word the utilitarians derive ought-statements from a purely factual, empirical statement, it is perfectly reasonable to argue that they tacitly presuppose other premisses which are not purely factual statements.
This view is, of course, essential to utilitarianism, in some form or other at least. And Mill often speaks in the same way. But he also sees, as Aristotle saw, that the exercise of human activities cannot properly be described as a means to an end, happiness, when the end is taken to be something purely external to these activities. For the exercise of the activities can itself constitute a part of happiness. The enjoyment of good health, for example, and the appreciative hearing of good music are, or can be, constituent elements in happiness, and not simply means to some abstract external end.
In his opinion a democratic constitution is the most likely to encourage that individual self-development on which he lays so much emphasis. Further, it promotes the growth in the individual of a public spirit, of concern with the common good, whereas under a benevolent despotism individuals are likely to concentrate simply on their private interests, leaving care for the common good to a government in which they have no voice or share. It is clear that Mill is not primarily concerned with an external harmonization of interests among atomic human individuals, each of which is supposed to be seeking simply his own pleasure.