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By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest function of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible historical past of philosophy in English.
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Extra info for A History of Philosophy, Volume 9: Modern Philosophy from the French Revolution to Sartre, Camus, and Lévi-Strauss
Saint-Simon emphasizes the role of observation and experiment. Obviously, experimentation. in the sense in which we speak of experiments in chemistry. is hardly possible in astronomy. But the term can be understood in a wide sense. And nowadays the situation has altered from what it was in Saint-Simon's time. /I We are reminded of the famous passage in Hume's introduction to the Treatise, in which he envisages placing the science of man on a solid foundation of experience and observation. 58 FROM THE REVOLUTION TO AUGUSTE COMTE SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY IN FRANCE 59 At the same time Saint-Simon thinks in terms of the extension of the approach and method of classical physics, considered as definitive in its main lines, to the study of man.
Common sense and reason are sufficient guides. In other words, rejection of the senSationalism of Condillac does not entail recours to Traditionalism orto an authoritarian Church. There is a middle way. The thought of Royer-Collard has some interest as associating a middle way in philosophy with a middle way in politics. To judge however by the fragments of his philosophizing his theories stand in need of a clarification which they do not receive. For example, in his view the self and its causal activity are given immediately to consciousness or to internal perception.
But this view is inaccurate. Saint-Simon does not appear to have ever been a complete positivist, if we understand the term as implying rejection of all belief in God. He seems to have believed in an impersonal immanent Deity, pantheistically conceived, and to have thought this belief quite compatible with his positivism. Further, he always regarded Christianity with respect. To be sure, he did not accept Christian dogmas. al necessity. And though the theological stage of thought had, in his opinion, been superseded by the scientific stage, he did not think of this transition as entailing abandonment of all Christian moral values.
A History of Philosophy, Volume 9: Modern Philosophy from the French Revolution to Sartre, Camus, and Lévi-Strauss by Frederick Copleston