The History of Philosophy, Volume 2 – Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present

1. The historical background
A summary of those issues of Ancient and early Modern Philosophy essential for an understanding of recent philosophic trends.

2-3. Aristotelian logic is banished from philosophy
The Father of Contemporary Philosophy: Immanuel Kant. The Kantian revolution in philosophy — the analytic-synthetic dichotomy — Kant’s famous argument: the “deduction of the categories” — reality as unknowable “things-in-themselves” — the phenomenal and noumenal worlds. Kant’s ethics: the morality of duty — the attack on happiness — the Categorical Imperative.

4. A new “logic” leads to an old politics. . .
Hegel. Reality as a dialectic process — the Absolute — the coherence theory of truth-Hegel’s concept of freedom — the absolutist state.

5. . . . and to an epidemic of irrationalism
Nineteenth-century German romanticism. Schopenhauer: the metaphysics of the Will — the irrationality of the universe. Nietzsche: the philosophy of Power — “Beyond Good and Evil.” Marx: the philosophy of Communism — romanticism unites with materialism: dialectical materialism — the economic interpretation of history — advocacy of world revolution.

6. The virus reaches defenders of science
Comte: the philosophy of Positivism — the origin of “altruism.” Mill: Utilitarianism, “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” — a collectivist defense of capitalism. Spencer: reality as unknowable — Social Darwinism.

7-8. Truth, logic and values are divorced from reality
Pragmatism. The Pragmatic theory of meaning: C.S. Peirce — the Pragmatic theory of truth: William James — Pragmatism fully developed: Dewey’s instrumentalism. Logical Positivism. The linguistic theory of logic — the verifiability theory — knowledge as probability — rejection of metaphysics.

9. Language is formally divorced from reality
The Analysts. Philosophy as the analysis of propositions: G.E. Moore — Bertrand Russell — Ordinary Language Analysis: the later Wittgenstein and his followers — the emotive theory of ethics and its heirs.

10. Nausea becomes a metaphysical emotion
Existentialism: Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre. The rejection of reason — the absurdity of the universe — Death and Nothingness — fear, trembling and dread. Zen Buddhism.

11-12. Man finds his defender: the philosophy of Objectivism
Objectivism and the history of Western philosophy. The primacy of existence vs. the primacy of consciousness — the subjective, the intrinsic and the objective-the Objectivist theory of concept — formation — the derivation of the Objectivist ethics and politics from its metaphysics and epistemology.


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