By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest function of its writer to common acclaim because the top historical past of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of gigantic erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect through writing an entire historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, proposing his idea in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that went earlier than and to those that got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not likely ever to be passed. concept journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A heritage of Philosophy as "broad-minded and target, accomplished and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we won't suggest [it] too highly."
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Additional info for A History of Philosophy, Volume 8: Modern Philosophy: Empiricism, Idealism, and Pragmatism in Britain and America
If the Benthamites had made in the economic sphere a thoroughgoing application of the principle of utility, they would have had to demand in this sphere a harmonization of interests 1 See Vol. VII of thi» History, p. 31a. 24 BRITISH EMPIRICISM through legislation similar to the harmonization of interests through legislation which they demanded in the political sphere. Indeed, in his essay on government for the Encyclopaedia Britannica James Mill declared that the general happiness is promoted by assuring to every man the greatest possible amount of the fruit of his own labour, and that the government should prevent the powerful robbing the weak.
In point of fact Mill came to modify his view that no man should be compelled to act or to refrain from acting in a certain way simply for his own good. Take the case of proposed legislation to reduce the hours of labour. Mill came to the conclusion that such legislation would be perfectly legitimate, and also desirable, if it were in the real interest of the workmen. To pretend that it violates the worker's freedom to work for as many hours as he likes is absurd. It is indeed obviously true that he would choose to work for an excessive length of time, if the alternative were to starve.
Utilitarianism, p. 53. , pp. 56-7. 45 BRITISH EMPIRICISM nature'. 1 But he goes on to argue that the utilitarians in question might have adopted another point of view 'with entire consistency. It is quite compatible with the principle of utility to recognize the fact, that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable and more valuable than others. ' 2 Mill may be quite right in claiming that it is absurd that in discriminating between pleasures no account should be taken of qualitative differences.