A beginner's history of philosophy - PDF book by Herbert Ernest Cushman

A beginner's history of philosophy

A beginner's history of philosophy


The book is in two volumes: the first volume illustrates Ancient philosophy and the second concerning the modern philosophy 


This book is intended as a textbook for sketch- courses in history of philosophy. It is written for the student rather than for the teacher. It is a history of philosophy upon the background of geography and of literary and political history. As a textbook for sketch courses, it employs summaries, tables, and other generalizations as helps to the memory. The philosophical teaching is presented as simply as possible, so as to bring into prominence only the leading doctrines. My own personal criticism and interpretation on the one hand, and explanations in technical language on the other, have been avoided as far as possible. 

Sometimes I have had to choose between interpretation and technicality, in which case the limitations of space have determined my choice. Since the book is intended for the student rather than for the teacher, it makes the teacher all the more necessary; for it puts into the hands of the student an outline and into the hands of the teacher the classroom time for inspiring the student with his own interpretations. In making use of geographical maps, contemporary literature, and political history, this book is merely utilizing for pedagogical reasons the stock of information with which the college student is furnished when he begins the history of philosophy. 

A good many years of experience in teaching history of philosophy to beginners have convinced me that students come to the subject with four classes of ideas, with which they can correlate philosophic doctrines: good geographical knowledge, some historical and some literary knowledge, and many undefined personal philosophical opinions.

 Of course, their personal philosophical opinions form the most important group, but more as something to be clarified by the civilizing influence of the subject than as an approach to the subject itself. The only "memory-hooks" upon which the teacher may expect to hang philosophic doctrines are the student s ideas of history, literature, and geography.

 If the history of philosophy is treated only as a series of doctrines, the student beginning the subject feels not only that the land is strange, but that he is a stranger in it. Besides, to isolate the historical philosophical doctrines is to give the student a wrong historical perspective, since philosophic thought and contemporary events are two inseparable aspects of history. Each interprets the other, and neither can be correctly understood without the other. If the history of philosophy is to have any significance for the beginner, it must be shown to give meaning to history.

Some contents in Volume 1

Introduction the three general periods
Of the history of philosophy 1
The comparative lengths of the three general
Periods 1
The real differences of the three general periods 1
Table of the subdivisions of the three general
Periods 4
Book I. Ancient philosophy
(625 b. C.-476 a. D.)
Chapter I. The early greek in ancient phlosophy 5
The divisions of ancient philosophy 5
The literary sources of ancient philosophy . . 6
The environment of the early greek 7
1. His geographical environment 7
2. His political environment 7
The native tendencies of the early greek, as seen
(1) in the development of his religion, (2) in his
Reflections upon physical events, and (3) in his inter
Est in human conduct 9-11
The three periods of greek philosophy .... 12
Chapter ii. The cosmological period: the
Philosophy of nature 15
The peril in the Greek political situation :
Persia and Carthage 15
The peril in the new religion: the mysteries
And Pythagoras 16
Characteristics of the cosmologists 18
Table of cosmologists . . 20
How the philosophical question arose .... 20
Map showing the cities where the cosmologists91
Lived Summary comparison of the monistic philosophies 22
1. The Milesian school 24
The Milesian philosophy 25
2. Xenophanes, the religious philosopher ... 26
The philosophy of Xenophanes 27
3. Heracleitus, "The misanthropist" and "The
Obscure " 28
A. Heracleitus doctrine of absolute and universal
Change 28
B. Fire is the cosmic substance 29
C. The definite changes of fire 30
D. The practical philosophy of Heracleitus .... 31
4. The Eleatic school 32
A. Parmenides 32
(1) the cosmic substance is being 33
(2) other things than the cosmic substance (being) 

Some contents from Volume 2

Volume ii. Modern philosophy
(1453 to the present time)
Chapter I. The characteristics and divisions
Of the modern period 1
The difficulty in the study of modern philosophy 1
The periods of modern philosophy 2
The causes of the decay of the civilization of
The middle ages 4
(a) the internal causes 4
(1) the intellectual methods were self-destructive 4
(2) the standard of truth became a double stand
Ard 5
(3) the development of mysticism 5
(4) the doctrine of nominalism 5
(6) the external causes 6
Chapter ii. The renaissance (1453-1690) . . 8
The general character of the renaissance . . 8
(a) the new man of the renaissance 8
(b) the new universe of the renaissance 9
(1) the transformation of the physical universe. 9
(2) the restoration of the world of antiquity. 10
The significance of the renaissance in history. 11
Map showing the decentralization of Europe . . 13
The two periods of the renaissance: the humanistic (1453-1600) ; the natural science (1600-1690) 1.5
(a) the similarities of the two periods 16
(6) the differences between the two periods 16
(1) the countries which participate in there
Naissance differs in the two periods. 16
(2) the intellectual standards differ in the two
Periods 17
(3) the scientific methods in the two periods were
Different 18
(4) the attitude of the church toward science
Differs in the two periods 19
A brief contrast of the two periods a summary
Of the discussion above 21
Chapter iii. The humanistic period of the
Renaissance (1453-1600) 22
The long list of representatives of the humanistic period 22
Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1464) 24
Paracelsus (1493-1541) 25
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) 27
Map showing the birthplaces of the chief philosophers of the renaissance 30
Chapter iv. The natural science period of
The renaissance (1600-1690) 31
The philosophers of the natural science period 31
The mathematical astronomers 32
Galileo Galilei (1564-1641) 36
The life of Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam (1561-
1626) 39
The position of bacon in philosophy 39
The aim of bacon 42
The method of bacon 43
(a) bacon s criticism of the past 44
(v) bacon s positive construction 45
The English natural science movement .... 46
Thomas Hobbes and his contemporaries .... 47
The life and writings of Hobbes (1588-1679) . . 49
1. As a classical scholar (1588-1628) 49
2. As a mathematician (1628-1638) 49



the book details :
  • Author: Herbert Ernest Cushman
  • Publication date:1911
  • Company: Boston Houghton Mifflin

  • Download Volume 1 Ancient Philosophy


    Download Volume 2 - Moden Philosophy

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