By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest objective of its writer to common acclaim because the top background of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of tremendous erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be diminished to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by means of writing a whole heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and one who offers complete position to every philosopher, featuring his notion in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to those that went ahead of and to those that got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a historical past of philosophy that's not going ever to be exceeded. suggestion journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike while it reviewed Copleston's A historical past of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, finished and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 3: Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy: Ockham, Francis Bacon, and the Beginning of the Modern World

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1 (v) Ockham's answer to the problem of universals has been already indicated in effect: universals are terms (termini concepti) which signify individual things and which stand for them in propositions. Only individual things exist; and by the very fact that a thing exists it is individual. There are not and cannot be existent universals. To assert the extramental existence of universals is to commit the folly of asserting a contradiction; for if the universal exists, it must be individual. And that there is no common reality existing at the same time in two members of a species can be shown in several ways.

For example, if one does not realize that Aristotle's intenti~n in the Categories was to treat of words and concepts and not of thmgs, one will interpret him in a sense quite foreign to his thought. Logic is concerned with terms of second intention which cannot exist sine ratione, that is, without the mind'~ activity; it deals, therefore, with mental 'fabrications'. I said earlier that Ockham did not much like speaking of universal co~cepts as fictions or fictive entities; but the point I then had in mmd was that Ockham objected to the implication that what we ~ow by means of a universal concept is a fiction and not a real thmg.

But it does not follow, of course, that Ockham did not develop the terminist logic very considerably. Nor does it follow that Ockham's philosophical views and the use to which he put the terminist logic were borrowed from a thinker like Peter of Spain. On the contrary, Peter was a conservative in philosophy and was very far from showing any tendency to anticipate Ockham's 'nominalism'. To find the antecedents of the terminist logic in the thirteenth century is not the same thing as attempting to push back the whole Ockhamist philosophy into that century: such an attempt would be futile.

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