Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Kant
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By Étienne Gilson and Thomas Langan
Per Étienne Gilson, “philosophy is a collective enterprise in which no one can pretend to take part unless he is first properly introduced.” To provide that proper introduction vis-à-vis the modern period, Gilson and Langan move systematically through the landmark figures and ideas of the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. Beginning with the vestiges of medievalism in Montaigne and Bacon, they then cover the interplay of science and philosophy (Descartes, Newton, and Vico); the emergence of a new political ethos (Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau); the installation of the golden age of modern metaphysics (Spinoza, Leibniz, and Wolff); the juxtaposition of materialism with idealism (Newton, Berkeley, and Hume); the Christian reaction (Pascal and Gerdil); and the rise of Romanticism (Lessing, Herder and Kant).
The modern era willed for itself a radical beginning. –Étienne Gilson
With its emphasis on the doctrinal content of each philosopher, braced by healthy portions of biographical detail, Modern Philosophy is a comprehensive treatment of what it has meant and what it means to philosophize, the ambitious breadth of which is matched only by its absorbing depth.
Étienne Gilson (1884–1978) was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy and one of the premier Catholic intellectuals of the twentieth century. He was founder of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto, member of the Académie française, and author of more than one hundred and seventy books.
Thomas Langan (1929–2012) was an American philosopher and staunch proponent of the Catholic intellectual tradition. His writings include Modern Philosophy and Recent Philosophy (both in collaboration with Gilson) and numerous books on existentialism and phenomenology.