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Modern, Philosophy


1. Descartes--------1596-1650.


Representatives of rationalism
in the 17th.century.




Representatives of what was
known as empiricism in the

Kant-------------1724-1804.  Founder of a critical philosophy 

developed Kant in a particular
direction and produced what is
now known as idealism.


The above grouping of Spinoza and Leibniz with Descartes, and Berkeley
and Hume with Locke depends upon the fact that the former two closely
followed the leadership of Descartes while the work of the latter is
closely connected with that of Locke who shows divergences and a different
point of view to Descartes. Thus some understanding of the work
of Descartes and Locke is necessary to appreciate the outlook of
Berkeley, Hume and Kant.


representative of modern views
particularly of what is known as
modern realism. His work
marks the development of an
independent view.


Now we notice in the titles of these philosophical works the stress
given by modern philosophers to human nature. This is different from
the stress of the ancients. note With rationalists the question is whether
philosophy is concerned with human mind and nature or not; idealists
maintain that philosophy has definitely to do with mind; for realists
mind is not? essential and the English empiricists take mind as of peculiar
imporatance in philosophy.

One? Theconnection between mind and philosophy is obvious, namely, that
it is human beings who study philosophy--the difference between one
man's philosophy, and another's will depend greatly on the extent to
which his mind differs from the other's. While this may be said of
philosophy, it may be said of any subject of study e.g., of mathematics.
It would be natural to suppose that if one man differs fundamentally
from another in the nature of his view of mathematics, that would have
some connection with their respective minds--it would not show that the
subject had anything to do with mind.

Now from the point of view of modern idealism, while it may be true
that such a subject as mathematics does not deal so directly with mind
as does philosophy, yet it does still have a definite connection and
it is only in virtue of that connection that the study of mathematics
is undertaken, i.e., we study mathematics in so far as it is useful to us,
in so far as it gives us some satisfaction. Modern idealists prepare
to maintain that anything that may be called real is of a mental character
and in opposition, all that realists require to maintain is that
there are some things not of a mental character and things most obviously

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so, e.g., pictures, landscapes, etc. The importance of Berkeley is that
he sets out explicitly to show that those things to which we attribute
a non-mental existence do, as a matter of fact, exist only in the mind.
It is because of this that he is so important in the history of modern
philosophy. In holding that view, he thinks that he is only drawing
conclusions that necessarily follow from the principles maintained by
his predecessors, particularly by Descartes and Locke. Now Descartes'
work is not independent of the thought of his predecessors, the Scholastics
of the middle ages, but he emphasises, in contrast to them, the human