By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible 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 in regards to the life of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the incorrect by means of writing a whole historical past of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and one who offers full place to every philosopher, offering his idea in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went prior to and to people who came after him.

The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a heritage of philosophy that's not going ever to be exceeded. Thought journal summed up the final contract between students and scholars alike whilst it reviewed Copleston's A background of Philosophy as "broad-minded and aim, accomplished and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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Example text

But the production presupposes the drive to presentation (der Vorstellungstrieb). Conversely, the positing of the sensible world is necessary in order that the fundamental striving or drive can take the determinate form of free moral activity directed towards an ideal goal. Thus the two deductions are complementary, though the theoretical deduction finds its ultimate explanation in the practical. In this sense Fichte endeavours to satisfy in his own way the demands of Kant's doctrine of the primacy of the practical reason.

L But it is the ego as subject, as intelligence, which thinks itself as object. And when it thinks itself as a tendency to self-activity for the sake of self-activity, it necessarily thinks itself as free, as able to realize absolute self-activity, as a power of self-determination. Further, the ego cannot conceive itself in this way without conceiving itself as subject to law, the law of determining itself in accordance with the concept of self-determination. That is to say, if I conceive my objective essence as a power of self-determination, the power of realizing absolute self-activity, I must also conceive myself as obliged to actualize this essence.

Behind, as it were, the theoretical activity of the ego lies its nature as striving, as impulse or drive. For example, the production 54 I F, I, p. 244; M. I, p. 437. I F. I, p. 291; M, I, p. 483. • F, I, p. 301; M. I. p. 492. 55 POST-KANTIAN IDEALIST SYSTEMS FICHTE (1) of the presentation (Vorstellung) is the work of the theoretical power, not of the practical power or impulse as such. But the production presupposes the drive to presentation (der Vorstellungstrieb). Conversely, the positing of the sensible world is necessary in order that the fundamental striving or drive can take the determinate form of free moral activity directed towards an ideal goal.

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