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The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill, The (Modern Library) Hardcover – December 5, 1994

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From the Inside Flap

The thirteen essays in this Modern Library edition comprise a complete survey of the golden age of English philosophy.  The anthology begins in the early seventeenth century with Francis Bacon's comprehensive program for the total reorganization of all knowledge; it culminates, some two hundred and fifty years later, with John Stuart Mill.  The thinkers represented here are the creators of the twentieth-century world.  Indebted to them is a long line of economists, sociologists, and political leaders whose work has profoundly influenced the life and thought of our own time.  

Included are the excerpts from Francis Bacon's The Great Instauration, Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, Jeremy Bentham's An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, and John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  The complete texts are provided for Locke's second "Treatise of Government", George Berkeley's "Treatise Concerning the Principle's of Human Knowledge", David Hume's "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" and "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion", John Gay's "Concerning the Fundamental Principle of Virtue or Morality", James Mill's "Government", and John Stuart Mill's "Utilitarianism" and "On Liberty".  With an introduction as well as nine biographical prefaces by Edwin A. Burtt.

From the Back Cover

"Life, for the influential and representative British philosophers, is more valuable than knowledge. Its supreme and self-justifying end is not metaphysical insight, nor even a balanced and well-rounded wisdom concerning man and his world, but happiness....Life does not exist for the sake of knowledge; rather, knowledge exists for the sake of a happy life."

--Edwin A. Burtt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (December 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679601317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679601319
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The volume 'The English Philosophers: from Bacon to Mill', edited by Edwin A. Burtt, together with its companion volume from the Modern Library, 'The European Philosophers: from Descartes to Nietzsche', edited by Monroe C. Beardsley, provides a good basic collection of the major philosophical writings of the post-Renaissance to the immediate pre-Modern period -- in essence, that period that many people think of as being 'our cultural history' in intellectual terms.
The text on the English Philosophers includes many of the major philosophers from the late sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. Each of the philosophers is introduced with a brief one-to-two page biography, but by and large the editor allows the philosophers' own writings to speak for themselves. Where possible, Burtt has opted to include whole texts -- the only exceptions to this are the 'Leviathan' by Hobbes, the 'Essay concerning Human Understanding' by Locke, and 'Principles of Morals and Legislation' by Bentham, owing to their great length; however, even here the selections are much more generous than the typical survey would be.
This survey shows the breadth of thinking that concerned the English philosophers -- political philosophy was often near the top of considerations, from Hobbes and Locke in the seventeenth century to Bentham and Mill in the late eighteenth/nineteenth century. Epistemology and metaphysics was similarly a consistent strand, from Bacon's 'Great Instauration' through Berkeley and Hume.
Burtt's essay of introduction is an interesting discussion of the development of English philosophy, and some of the key differences English philosophy has from its continental counterpart.
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