A History of Philosophy [Vol V] - download pdf or read online

By Frederick Charles Copleston

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ISBN-13: 9780385468435

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Augustine regarded the State, or at least tended to do so, as a consequence of original sin; that is, as a necessary means of restraining man's evil impulses which are a result of original sin. And this view bears at any rate some likeness to Hobbes's conception of the State as the remedy for the evils ,consequent on man's natural condition, the war of all against all. Aquinas, on the other hand, adhering to the Greek tradition, regarded the State as a natural institution, the primary function of which is to promote the common good and which would be necessary even if man had not sinned and possessed no evil impulses.

B Cudworth argues also against the notion that animals are machines and favours attributing to them sensitive souls. '8 Cudworth thus rejects altogether the sharp dichotomy made by Descartes between the spiritual and material worlds. I do not mean by this that he postulated an evolutionary continuity between inanimate matter, plants, sensitive life and rational life. On the contrary, he denied that life can proceed from inanimate matter, and he denounced Hobbes's account of consciousness and thought in materialist terms.

The mind, therefore, can perceive eternal essences and immutable truths. And it can do this, as has already been mentioned, because it derives from and depends on the eternal mind 'which. " It can therefore discern eternal moral principles and values. Good and evil, just and unjust, are not relative conceptions, as Hobbes imagined. Even if it is possible to have varying degrees of insight into moral values and principles, these are none the less absolute. Cudworth had therefore no sympathy with the view, which he ascribes to Descartes, that moral and other eternal truths are subject to the divine omnipotence and therefore, in principle, variable.

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A History of Philosophy [Vol V] by Frederick Charles Copleston

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