By Roger Scruton
Notice for your self the pleasures of philosophy! Written either for the professional pupil of philosophy in addition to the overall reader, the popular author Roger Scruton presents a survey of recent philosophy. continually enticing, Scruton takes us on a desirable travel of the topic, from founding father Descartes to an important and recognized thinker of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein. He identifies all of the imperative figures in addition to outlines of the most highbrow preoccupations that experience expert western philosophy. portray a portrait of contemporary philosophy that's bright and lively, Scruton introduces us to a few of the best philosophical difficulties invented during this interval and pursued ever given that. together with fabric on fresh debates, a brief heritage of contemporary Philosophy is already verified because the vintage advent. learn it and discover why.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Wittgenstein
It is the question of the nature and limits of what has come to be known as a priori knowledge. The prime example of such knowledge for Descartes (who did not use the term ‘a priori’) is knowledge of the validity of a step in an argument. For example, I can see that from the proposition ‘p and q’ it follows that p. By way of explaining this as a basic operation of the natural light, Descartes would say that the relation between ‘p and q’ and ‘p’ is something that I perceive clearly and distinctly.
The existence of God guarantees those claims to knowledge which, by using his faculties to their greatest ability, Descartes will be naturally inclined to make. Two difficulties arise at this point, and were already pointed out to Descartes in the series of objections collected by Mersenne (see p. 40). The first is, how does Descartes account for the possibility of error? If God is no deceiver, why does he permit error in any form? The second is this: if the existence of God is needed to guarantee the judgements about the world which we would, using our faculties to their best measure, instinctively arrive at, then do we not need to be assured of God’s existence before we can guarantee that the ‘clear and distinct’ perceptions whereby that existence is proven do really have the authority which they appear to have?
It was rejected by Aquinas in his systematic exposition of the basis of Christian doctrine, but nevertheless belongs to a class of arguments others of which he was inclined to accept, and all of which derive their proof THE RISE OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY for the existence of God by way of the concept of a necessary being—a being whose essence involves existence. Put very simply, St Anselm’s argument is as follows. By ‘God’ I mean an entity than which no greater can be thought. Suppose that God, so defined, does not exist; I can nevertheless think that he exists.