The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy 2 by Daniel Garber, Michael Ayers

By Daniel Garber, Michael Ayers

The Cambridge heritage of seventeenth Century Philosophy bargains a uniquely entire and authoritative evaluation of early-modern philosophy written by way of a world crew of experts. As with earlier Cambridge histories of philosophy the topic is handled via subject and subject matter, and because historical past doesn't come packaged in neat bundles, the topic can also be taken care of with nice temporal flexibility, incorporating widespread connection with medieval and Renaissance principles. the fundamental constitution of the volumes corresponds to the way in which an informed seventeenth-century eu may need prepared the area of philosophy. hence, the historical past of technological know-how, non secular doctrine, and politics characteristic very prominently. The narrative that unfolds starts off with an highbrow global ruled through a synthesis of Aristotelianism and scholastic philosophy, yet through the tip of the interval the mechanistic or "corpuscularian" philosophy has emerged and exerted its complete effect on conventional metaphysics, ethics, theology, common sense, and epistemology. Cambridge Histories on-line

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The publishing history of Grotius's De iure belli ac pads illustrates this very neatly. 53 In a development also redolent of an earlier period, it was promptly pirated on a small scale by a Frankfurt printer. 54 Grotius began to look for other publishers, despite the legal problems (which were partly resolved by Buon's death in 1629). Willem Blaeu of Amsterdam then moved in and offered Grotius the prospect of a sumptuous new edition in folio with all the author's emendations and additions, and a cheap popular edition in octavo;55 these duly appeared in 1631 and 1632, and Grotius remained with Blaeu as his publisher (with two more editions in 1642 and 1646).

The same way of life was possible in France, where Gabriel Naude was librarian to Richelieu and Mazarin, and La Mothe le Vayer acted as tutor to the Due d'Anjou; and even in Germany, where Leibniz worked first for the Elector of Mainz and then for the Elector of Hanover. If none of these jobs was available, then in most cases it was impossible for anyone to pursue philosophical enquiry. The one great exception to this (as to many other generalisations) was Spinoza. His heterodoxy led to his falling foul of his church, just as heterodox Christians had fallen foul of theirs; but he could not find the supportive aristocratic household to protect him which both Hobbes and Locke were able to rely on (though the De Witts, the great Dutch politicians, were able to provide some help for him).

The humanists' contribution came from their central commitment that philosophy could not be understood nor taught in isolation from rhetoric, and from an understanding of the imaginative and historical literature of antiquity. This had two implications. The first was that a proper study of Aristotle's ethics (for example) could not be treated as a technical discipline divorced from thinking about the ethical views of 'rhetoricians' such as (above all) Cicero. 19 But the second implication was that there was no point in studying the rules of rhetoric or logic in isolation from the important substantive theories contained in Aristotle's more advanced works.

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