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Learning from Six Philosophers: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume

Posted on: October 1, 2007

Jonathan Bennett, Learning from Six Philosophers: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume
Oxford University Press | ISBN 0199266298 | 2003 | PDF | 2.78 MB | 356+340 pages 2 vol.


In these two volumes Jonathan Bennett engages with the thought of six great thinkers of the early modern period: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume. While not neglecting the historical setting of each, his chief focus is on the words they wrote. What problem is being tackled? How exactly is the solution meant to work? Does it succeed? If not, why not? What can be learned from its success or failure? For newcomers to the early modern scene, this clearly written work is an excellent introduction to it. Those already in the know can learn how to argue with the great philosophers of the past, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, students, teachers. In volume one Bennett considers mainly the work of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, and in volume two the work of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.

* Volume 1: the shift from Aristotelian to Cartesian physics; Descartes on matter and space, on causation, and on certainty; Descartes and Spinoza on matter and mind, and on desire; Leibniz’s metaphysics (monads) and physics, his theory of animals.
* Volume 2: Locke on ideas, on necessity, on essences, on substance, on secondary qualities, on personal identity; Descartes on modality; Berkeley’s epistemology and metaphysics; Hume on ideas, on belief, on causation, on bodies, on reason; Hume and Leibniz on personal identity

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