Adventures in Philosophy



Introduction & Directory

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Glossary of Philosophical Terms

Timeline of Philosophy

A Timeline of American Philosophy

Development of Philosophic Thought

Diagram: Divisions of Philosophy

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Background Essay
The Prelude to Modern Philosophy

Introductory Essay
Immanentism in Modern Philosophy

Overview Essays
Overview of 17th Century Philosophy: A Study and Critique
Overview of 18th & 19th Century Philosophy: A Study and Critique

The Development of Modern and Recent Philosophical Thought

Critical Essay
The Fallacy of Epistemological Idealism

Humanism and the Renaissance

The Resurgence of the Philosophical Schools - Platonism - Marsilio Ficino
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola - Aristotelianism - Pietro Pomponazzi
Stoicism and Epicureanism - Pierre Gassendi
Skepticism and Eclecticism - Desiderius Erasmus
Michel de Montaigne - Nicholas of Cusa - Bernardino Telesio
Giordano Bruno - Tommaso Campanella
Niccolo Machiavelli - Galileo Galilei
The Protestant Reformation
Philipp Melanchthon - John Calvin - Jacob Boehme
The Catholic Counter-Reformation
Johann Amos Comenius

Expanded Discussions


Critical Essays

The Philosophy of Rationalism

René Descartes - Benedict Spinoza - Nicholas De Malebranche
Blaise Pascal - Gottfried Wilhelm Von Leibnitz
Christian Wolff

Expanded Discussions


Critical Essays

The Philosophy of Empiricism

Francis Bacon - Thomas Hobbes - John Locke - George Berkeley - David Hume

Expanded Discussions


Critical Essays

Special Reference

The Philosophy of Illuminism

English Illuminism
French Illuminism - Voltaire - Denis Diderot
Etienne Bonnot de Condillac - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean Baptiste Le Rond D'Alembert - Paul Henri Thiry Baron D'Holbach
German Illuminism - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Italian Illuminism

Background Essays

Expanded Discussion


The Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

Kantian Criticism

Expanded Discussion


Critical Essay

Background Essay:

The Successors of Kant

The German Idealists

Johann Gottlieb Fichte - Friedrich Wilhelm von Schelling
Friedrich Schleiermacher - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Expanded Discussions


The Critical Revision of Idealism

Johann Friedrich Herbart - Arthur Schopenhauer
Rudolph Hermann Lotze - Friedrich Albert Lange - Wilhelm Windelband

Expanded Discussion


Philosophy of the First Half of the Nineteenth Century Outside Germany

Felicite de Lamennais - Victor Cousin
Antonio Rosmini-Serbati - Vincenzo Gioberti

Background Essay

Expanded Discussion


The Philosophy of Positivism

Expanded Discussion

French Positivism

Auguste Comte


English Positivism

Jeremy Bentham - John Stuart Mill - Herbert Spencer


German Positivism

Ludwig A. Feuerbach - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Ernst Haeckel - Friedrich Albert Lange - Richard Avenarius

Expanded Discussion


Critical Essays

Italian Positivism

Roberto Ardigo


Unclassified Modern Philosophers

Leonardo da Vinci - Ben Jonson - Uriel Acosta
Duc de La Rochefoucauld, François VI [Prince de Marsillac]
Ralph Cudworth - Arnold Geulincx - Pierre Bayle - Emanuel Swedenborg
Carolus Linnaeus - Julien Offray de La Mettrie - Samuel Johnson
Claude Adrien Helvétius - Johann Georg Hamann - Johann Kasper Lavater
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg - William Paley
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi - Johann Gottfried Herder - Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Joseph Joubert - Francis Xavier von Baader
Maine de Biran [Pierre Francois Gonthier de Biran]

Wilhelm von Humboldt - Friedrich von Schlegel - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Charles Lamb - Bernard Bolzano - Thomas Carlyle
Antoine Augustine Cournot - Gustav Theodor Fechner - Augustus De Morgan
David Friedrich Strauss - Charles Darwin - Henry James, Sr. - George Boole
Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau - George Henry Lewes - Francesco De Sanctis

John Tyndall - Hermann von Helmholtz - Thomas Henry Huxley
Nicolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky - Richard Dedekind - African Spir
Henry Sidgwick - Walter Horatio Pater


Academy Showcase Specials

Introduction: Immanentism in Modern Philosophy

Modern philosophy considered as a whole is characterized by a basic immanentism which distinguishes it and places it in opposition to ancient and medieval philosophy, which are based on transcendence.

Between Greek philosophy and Christian thought there is no opposition; rather, one is a gradual development of the other. Greek philosophy, in its attempt to discover the explanation of "becoming" or change, had arrived - in the great speculations of Plato and Aristotle - at the affirmation of the transcendence of the absolute God.

Christian philosophy, developed during the medieval period, gradually developed the Greek idea of the transcendence of the absolute God. Christian thinkers rejected the Greek metaphysical dualism of God and eternal matter, and replaced it with the concepts of creation and the providence of God.

Modern philosophy rises as the antithesis of ancient and medieval philosophy, and does this by virtue of the immanent principle. No longer God, but nature (or man), is considered the metaphysical absolute. Nature becomes divinized and is put in God's place. As a result, the explanation of all reality is sought in the principles of nature itself.

Immanentism pervades the whole of modern philosophy and is its characteristic property. However, the logical consequences which flow from immanentism developed slowly, and only with Kant and Idealism does immanentism become critical and conscious.

During the Renaissance, Rationalism and Empiricism, although based on immanentism, still affirmed the transcendence of God over nature and man. But this affirmation no longer forms part of philosophy, since an immanentist philosophy cannot, without being a contradiction in terms, find its outcome in transcendence.

The causes which determined the break of modern philosophy with ancient and medieval philosophy can be reduced to two:

  • The decadence of Scholasticism determined by Ockhamist nominalism; and
  • The development of the positive sciences.

Immanentism made its appearance in Greek philosophy with Stoicism and Neo-Platonism; during the Middle Ages it appeared with Scotus Erigena and Master Eckhart. Modern philosophy appeals to these historical precedents. Greek immanentism, in comparison with the great systems of Plato and Aristotle, represents but passing moments of crisis in the history and development of thought; the immanentism of the Middle Ages was defeated by the authority of the Church and Scholasticism. Modern immanentism, on the other hand, rising as it does on the decline of Scholasticism and with an attitude of disregard for all authority, has been able to pretend unto the present day to be the only philosophy.

Another historical antecedent of modern philosophy is Latin Averroism with its principle of the double truth, according to which what is true in philosophy may be false in religion and vice versa. When in the progress of time it was no longer possible to sustain the logic of the principle of double truth, philosophers appealed to the principle of exclusion or isolation, according to which what was believed to be true in the philosophical field was affirmed exclusively, that is, without taking into account the truths of religion.

Modern philosophy, essentially immanentist, does not find its justification in pure speculation, but in scientific and empirical motives, and in the struggle against Scholasticism and against the authority of the Church. As a consequence, it became essentially atheistic.

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