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History of Philosophy
Second Period -- From Descartes to Kant
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)


The second period in the history of modern philosophy extends from Descartes to Kant, that is, from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth. It comprises some of the greatest modern systems of thought, namely, the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, the last forming, as it were, the connecting link with the period of criticism inaugurated by Kant. The period which we are about to study is one of dogmatism and empiricism, although it includes, as we shall see, more than one system of scepticism, partial or complete. It is a period during which intellectual activity within the Church is confined for the most part to the domain of theology: philosophy no longer stands to theology in the close relation in which it had stood during the Middle Ages, and battles, in which the most vital principles of religion are involved, are fought outside the Church, and in the domain of philosophy. This dissociation of philosophy from theology is one of the characteristics of the period.

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