2nd Edition

The British Empiricists

ISBN 9780415357241
Published November 5, 2007 by Routledge
352 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

The Empiricists represent the central tradition in British philosophy as well as some of the most important and influential thinkers in human history. Their ideas paved the way for modern thought from politics to science, ethics to religion. The British Empiricists is a wonderfully clear and concise introduction to the lives, careers and views of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Mill, Russell, and Ayer.

Stephen Priest examines each philosopher and their views on a wide range of topics including mind and matter, ethics and emotions, freedom and the physical world, language, truth and logic. The book is usefully arranged so that it can be read by thinker or by topic, or as a history of key philosophical problems and equips the reader to:

  • recognize and practice philosophical thinking
  • understand the methods of solving philosophical problems used by the British Empiricists
  • appreciate the role of empiricism in the history of Western philosophy.

For any student new to philosophy, Western philosophy or the British Empiricists, this masterly survey offers an accessible engaging introduction.

Table of Contents

What is Empiricism? 1. Doing Philosophy and Doing History  2. Defining Empiricism  3. Ants and Spiders  4. Ancient Greek Empiricism and Rationalism  5. Empiricism and Rationalism in Medieval Philosophy  6. The Flight of the Bee  7. Empiricism and American Pragmatism  8. The Logic of Empiricism  Hobbes 1. Hobbes in History  2. Mind  3. Language 4. Reason 5. Science 6. Freedom 7. Emotion  8. Religion  9. Nature 10. Ethics 11. Politics  Locke  1. Locke in History 2. Innate Ideas  3.  Sensation and Reflection  4. Physical Objects  5. Minds  6. Personal Identity  7. Space and Time  8. Numbers  9. Language  10. Causation  11. God  12. Politics  Berkeley  1.    Berkeley in History  2. Matter  3. Abstract Ideas  4. The Self   5. God and Other Minds  6. Space and Time 7. Numbers  8. Language  Hume  1. Hume in History  2. Impressions and Ideas  3. Physical Objects  4. Space and Time  5. Knowledge  6. Causation  7. Personal Identity  8. Mind and Body  9. Freedom  10. Induction  11. Memory and Imagination  12. Religion  13. Ethics  14. Politics  15. Art  Mill  1. Mill in History  2. Language  3. Causation  4. Induction  5. Deduction  6. Knowledge  7. Freedom  8. Mind  9. Ethics  10. Politics  Russell  1. Russell in History  2. Perception  3. Knowledge  4. Induction  5. Universals  6. Mind and Matter  7. Logical Atomism  8. Meaning and Truth  9. Mathematics  10. Causation  11. Religion  Ayer  1. Ayer in History  2. Meaning and Metaphysics  3. Philosophical Analysis  4. Perception  5. Causation  6. Induction  7. Mind and Body  8. Personal Identity  9. Religion  10. Ethics 


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Stephen Priest is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford.