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 most sensible heritage of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of sizeable erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the potential for 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 lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect by means of writing an entire heritage of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and one who supplies complete position to every philosopher, proposing his idea 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. proposal journal summed up the final contract between students and scholars alike while it reviewed Copleston's A background of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, accomplished and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 8: Modern Philosophy: Empiricism, Idealism, and Pragmatism in Britain and America

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It is not a philosophy of egoism because happiness, in the moral context, 'is not the agent's own greatest happiness, but the greatest amount of happiness altogether'. 8 As for expediency, the expedient as opposed to the right generally means that which serves the interests of the individual as such, without regard to the common good, 'as when a minister sacrifices the interests of his country to keep himself in place'. 4 Such conduct is clearly incompatible with the greatest happiness principle.

Hence political reform and extended education should go hand in hand. 5. James Mill undertook to show, with the aid of the associationist psychology, how altruistic conduct on the part of the pleasure-seeking individual is possible. He was indeed convinced that 'we never feel any pains or pleasures but our own. ' 1 But these remarks contain also the key to understanding the possibility of altruistic conduct. For an inseparable association can be set up, say between the idea of my own pleasure and the idea of that of the other members of the community to which I belong, an association such that its result is analogous to a chemical product which is something more than the mere sum of its elements.

For one thing Malthus argued that while wages tend to remain constant, rents tend to increase with the increasing fertility of the land. And these rents represent profit for the landlords though they contribute nothing to production. In other words, the landlords are parasites on society. And it was the conviction of the Benthamites that their power should be broken. For another thing, while those who were strongly influenced by Malthus's reflections on population may have thought that the only way of increasing profits and wages would be by restricting the growth of population, and that this would be impracticable, the very admission of the possibility in principle of interfering with the distribution of wealth in one way should have encouraged the exploration of other ways of attaining this end.

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