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Course of Lectures on Modern Thinkers.


It has been found inadvisable to print separate programmes for distribution amongst the audience at each lecture, and the editors of the CRIMSON have been asked instead to print each Wednesday morning the topics of the expected evening lecture. On this occasion, for the sake of those who did not see the programme of the second lecture, we reprint therefrom the general notes on the "Periods of Modern Philosophy." Then follow the topics and notes to be used in connection with the lecture of this evening. Readers of the CRIMSON who intend to be present this evening, are asked to keep this copy and to bring it with them to the lecture. No printed programmes will be distributed this evening:


The Periods of Modern Philosophy, as distinguished for the present purpose, are:

I. Period of Naturalism and of Rationalism: From Galileo to Spinoza.

(Its specially noteworthy characteristics are, in addition to its general interest in outer nature: (1) Its belief that the whole order of nature is subject to rigid laws of a mechanical type; (2) Its faith in the power of the human reason to know absolute truth; and (3) Its fondness of mathematical methods in Philosophy.)

II. Period of the Study of the Inner Life: From Locke to Kant.

(Its general characteristics are: (1) A critical analysis of the powers of man's mind; (2) A growing scepticism; (3) In the end a tendency towards revolutionary reconstructions of all doctrine.)

III. Period of Recent Philosophy: From Kant to the present Time.

(Beginning at the culmination of the previous critical period, the third period is at first devoted to the study of the inner life, but is later led to fresh efforts to comprehend outer nature. It is throughout much influenced by natural science and by the newer study of history. In consequence, it develops the idea of Evolution. Its problem is the synthesis and reconciliation of our knowledge of outer nature with our understanding of the inner life of man.)


Topics of the lecture:

1. General characterization of this period as one of analysis, scepticism and study of the inner life.

2. Value of scepticism in philosophy.

3. The problem concerning Innate Ideas.

4. This problem in the thought of Des Cartes.

5. Locke's treatment of the question.

6. Historical consequences of the controversy, direct and indirect; its value for the study of the inner life.

7. Berkeley's Idealism.

8. Hume's Scepticism.

9. The transition to Kant.

Locke (1632-1704) has been often edited. The best copy of his "Essay on the Human Understanding" for purposes of actual study, is the one in Bohn's Philosophical Library, in the edition of his "Philosophical Works." The best life is that by H. R. Fox Bourne, London and New York, 1876, 2 vols.

Berkeley was born 1684, died 1753. He matriculated at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1700, took his Master's degree in 1707, published his "Essay towards a New Theory of Vision" in 1709, and his "Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge" in 1710. From 1729 to 1731 he lived in Rhode Island, planning his University, which was to be established in the Bermudas. The plan came to nothing. In 1732, returned to England, he published his "Alciphron." He became Bishop of Cloyne in 1734. The best edition of his works is that of Fraser (Oxford,1871). The same editor has also written his Life, published at the same time as the works.

Hume was born in Edinburgh, 1711, died 1776. His "History of England" appeared in 1754-1762. His first philosophical treatise, the "Treatise on Human Nature," was written between 1734 and 1737. His "Essays" appeared in 1748. The Philosophical Works have been edited in four volumes by Green and Grose, London, 1874-75. On this whole period one may read Leslie Stephen's "History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century."

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