The early modern period was a very innovative period in Western philosophy. New theories of mind and matter, new conceptions of God, new political philosophies and theories of civic society were proposed. The period approximately spanned from the late 1400s to the end of the 18th century (roughly 1500-1800). It is the time period where […]

Read More...

1. The monad, of which we will speak here, is nothing else than a simple substance, which goes to make up compounds; by simple, we mean without parts. 2. There must be simple substances because there are compound substances; for the compound is nothing else than a collection or aggregatum of simple substances. 3. Now, […]

Read More...

Descartes’ Life René Descartes (1596 – 1650) was born near Tours, in France, and was educated for nine years at a Jesuit college. After graduating with a law degree from Poitiers at the age of twenty-two, he traveled in Europe, and developed a passion for mathematics and philosophy. He spent most of his life after 1628 […]

Read More...

The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is a cornerstone of moral philosophy. It was published in 1785, after the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and just before the Critique of Practical Reason (1788). It is essentially a short introduction to the argument presented in the second Critique.  Kant argues that morality is […]

Read More...

 John Locke (1632-1704) argues in his Second Treatise of Government that legitimate government is a limited government based on consent, in which the majority rules but may not violate people’s fundamental rights. A legitimate government may not violate our natural right to life, liberty, and property. Nevertheless, he also allows that government may legitimately take property through taxation […]

Read More...

One can also approach ethics from the perspective of usefulness and utility. What will produce the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people? The philosopher associated with this kind of thinking about morality is Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780), Bentham argues that the […]

Read More...

Friday, November 23, 1787.  Author: James Madison To the People of the State of New York: AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for […]

Read More...