A critical history of philosophical theories (1913) by Aaron Schuyler

A critical history of philosophical theories

A critical history of philosophical theories

Philosophy is the result obtained by the employment of reason in the discovery of those fundamental principles that give unity and harmony to knowledge. It seeks to reduce complexity to simplicity, and multiplicity to unity, and find the ultimate reality. 

Facts acquired by observation are explained by reason. The history of philosophy is the record of these speculations and their results. A critical history of philosophy is a dis- criminating examination of the theories of the philosophers of the various schools, in order to test and confirm their truth, to expose their errors, to trace the relations of the different systems, the conflict of their principles, the occasions of their appearance, and the order of their development. To understand the principles maintained by the philosophers of the various schools, the conflict of their principles, the reasons for their theories, and the connection of the various systems, is to understand philosophy itself. The phenomenal world is the product of two factors the external world and the human mind; philosophy deals with both. Uncritical thought accepts appearance as the sole reality. Science classifies phenomena and determines their laws, while philosophy attempts to find a rational explanation of phenomena as facts of experience. That is, Science treats phenomena and their laws, while philosophy seeks causes and the rational explanation of phenomena. Nothing can be more interesting or more stimulating to thought than the study of the relations of philosophy and science. 

It will be found that no system of philosophy is without some merit, though it may be only a crude beginning, or a one-sided attempt to give an account of the mystery of existence. Broad views are requisite if we wish to avoid the errors of all partial or incomplete systems. As the mission of philosophy is to give a rational explanation of the phenomenal, it cannot, therefore, disregard the facts of experience, and still be true to its calling. On the other hand, to deal exclusively with phenomena, discarding the necessary principles which afford their rational explanation, is to abandon the guide of reason, or to resolve it into transformed sensation


I. The Milesian School 9
II. The Eleatic School 13
III. Heraclitus and Pythagoras 18
IV. Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists. ... 23
V. The Sophists 32
VI. Socrates and Immediate Successors 42
VII. Piato 53
VIII. Aristotle 63
IX. The Epicurean and Stoic Schools 71
X. Skepticism in Philosophy 82
XI. Eclecticism, Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism. . . 96
XII. Patristic Philosophy 107
XIII. Scholastic Philosophy First Period 117
XIV. Scholastic Philosophy Second Period 127
XV. Transition to Modern Philosophy 142
XVI. Modern Philosophy Cartesian 158
XVII. Modern Philosophy Metaphysical .' 172
XVIII. Modern Philosophy English 188
XIX. Berkeley and Hume 208
XX. Kant 227
XXI. Fichte, Jacobi, Schelling 250
XXII. Hegel 267
XXIII. Herbart, ScliopenhauerrHartmann 280
XXIV. Reid, Stewart, Brown 293
XXV. Hamilton, Ferrier, McCosh. . , 304
XXVI. Associational and Empirical Philosophy. . . 321
XXVII. Associational and Empirical Philosophy,
(continued) 339
XXVIII. French Enlightenment Philosophy 351
XXIX. Reaction, Eclecticism, Positivism 367
XXX. Later German Philosophy 383
XXXI. Philosophy of Evolution 402
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