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By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentatin of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest function of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible heritage of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of massive erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the lifestyles of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers was once lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect via writing an entire heritage of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident an highbrow pleasure - and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, offering his concept in a fantastically rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who went earlier than and to those that got here after him.

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Additional info for A History of Philosophy, Volume 5: Modern Philosophy: The British Philosophers from Hobbes to Hume

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7. The fact that Hobbes believed that every effect has a necessary antecedent cause does not mean that he believed that we can determine with certainty what is the cause of a given event. As we have already seen, the philosopher argues from effects to possible causes and from causes to possible effects. A n d all our knowledge of the 'consequences' of facts is hypothetical or conditional. That this must be so is, indeed, indicated b y the use of the word 'accident' in the definition of a cause.

And Hobbes says as much in explicit terms. ' 1 The commonwealth is certainly instituted for a specific purpose, namely, for the peaceful security of those who are party to the social covenant. A n d this point, too, has its importance, as will be seen later. B u t Hobbes's insistence that the covenants are made between the subjects, or more accurately future subjects, and not between the subjects and the sovereign, enables him to emphasize more easily the undivided nature of sovereign power. In his opinion it is b y the centralization of authority in the person of the sovereign that the evil which he particularly dreaded, namely, civil war, can be avoided.

3 A n d he remarks that 'there is no doubt but b y what authority the Scripture or any other writing is made a law, b y the same authority the Scriptures are to be interpreted or else they are made in vain'. 4 Again, when Bramhall remarks that on Hobbes's Erastian principles the authority of all general councils is destroyed, Hobbes admits that this is the case. If Anglican prelates pretend that general councils possess authority independently of the sovereign, they to this extent detract from the latter's inalienable authority and power.

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