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The History of Philosophy, Volume 1 – Founders of Western Philosophy: Thales to Hume

1. The first problem: are there any absolutes?
The Father of Philosophy: Thales. The philosophy of flux: Heraclitus — “You cannot step into the same river twice” — change as the only absolute. The mind-body opposition begins: the mathematical mysticism of the Pythagoreans.

2. The triumph of the metaphysics of two worlds
The birth of determinism: the materialism of Democritus. The birth of “It seems to me”: the skepticism of the Sophists — “Might makes right.” Socrates. The first complete philosophy: Plato’s. Plato and his metaphysical dualism.

3. The results in this world
Plato’s epistemology — the myth of the cave. Plato’s ethics/politics: reason vs. emotion — Platonic love — the Philosopher-King — communism as the political ideal.

4-5. A revolution: the birth of reason
Aristotle. Epistemology: sensory evidence as the base of knowledge — the laws of logic — the nature of truth. Ethics/politics: happiness as the moral goal — reason and the good life — the Great-Souled Man — the ideal society.

6. Philosophy loses confidence
The philosophy of pleasure: the hedonism of Epicurus. The philosophy of duty: Stoicism. The new Skepticism: Pyrrho of Elis. Neo-Platonism: Plotinus.

7-8. Philosophy becomes religious — and recovers
The rejection of reason and happiness: the development of Christianity. The first major Christian philosopher: Augustine — faith as the basis of reason — ethics of self — sacrificial love — man as a corrupt creature. The Dark Ages. The rediscovery of Aristotle. Thomas Aquinas: the union of Aristotelianism and Christianity — the absolutism of reason and the new role of faith. The aftermath: the Church loses its power — the Renaissance.

9. The new breach between the mind and reality
Materialism and determinism in the name of science, dictatorship in the name of harmony: Thomas Hobbes. The father of modern philosophy and the first famous Continental Rationalist: René Descartes — the method of universal doubt — “I think, therefore I am” — the theory of innate ideas.

10. The breach deepens. . .
The second famous Rationalist: Spinoza — pantheism — determinism. The third famous Rationalist: Leibnitz — the unreality of matter — the “windowless monads.” British empiricism: John Locke.

11. . . . and the attempt collapse
Empiricism becomes subjectivist: Bishop Berkeley — “To be is to be perceived.” Empiricism becomes bankrupt: the skepticism of David Hume — the attack on the external world and on causality — the breach between logic and fact.

12. Conclusion
The Objectivist answer to key problems posed by Ancient and Modern Philosophy.


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