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By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the top heritage of philosophy in English.

Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of colossal erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the inaccurate by way of writing an entire background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who supplies full place to every philosopher, offering his concept in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went ahead of and to people who came after him.

The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a background of philosophy that's not going ever to be passed. Thought journal summed up the final contract between students and scholars alike while it reviewed Copleston's A heritage of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, entire and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we won't suggest [it] too highly."

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Additional info for A History of Philosophy [Vol VII] : modern philosophy : from the post-Kantian idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche

Example text

And the nature of man in so far as this impulsion necessarily manifests itself within him is his 'moral or ethical nature'. 1 To understand the grounds of this moral nature is the task of ethics. The ego is activity, striving. And as we saw when considering the practical deduction of consciousness, the basic form taken by the striving which constitutes the ego is infra-conscious impulse or drive. Hence from one point of view man is a system of impulses, the impulse which can be ascribed to the system as a whole being that of self-preservation.

Without the world it could not give content, as it were, to the pure ought. To be a moral action, each of these particular actions must fulfil a certain formal con<;lition. 'Act always according to your best conviction of your duty or Act according to your conscience. This is the formal condition of the morality of our actions ... '2 The will which so acts is the good will. Fichte is obviously writing under the influence of Kant. 5. 3 That is to say, conscience is the immediate awareness of a particular obligation.

293. FICHTE (1) 51 The two deductions are, of course, complementary, forming together the total philosophical deduction or reconstruction of consciousness. At the same time the theoretical deduction is subordinated to the practical. For the absolute ego is an infinite striving towards self-realization through free moral activity, and the non-ego, the world of Nature, is a means or instrument for the attainment of this end. es us the reason why the absolute ego posits the non-ego as limiting and affecting the finite ego; and it leads us to the confines of ethics.

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