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Philosophy: MODERN PHILOSOPHY

Free web sites on Philosophy

Modern Philosophy

  • Famous Modern Philosophers
    A useful chart with portraits and very short biographies. Begins with Sir Frances Bacon in the 17th century, and ends with Jean Paul Sartre in the 20th century.

  • Some Texts from Early Modern Philosophy
    Chronological arrangement by author, with full texts of their significant works. It begins with Machiavelli's The Prince, and ends with Henry Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics.

  • 17th Century European
    Covers major principles of John Locke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Hugo Grotius, Blaise Pascal, Antoine Arnauld, Ralph Cudworth, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sevigne, Jeanne-Françoise Frémyot, Baronne de Chantal, Kristina Wasa, Queen of Sweden, Ninon de Lenclos, Angélique de Saint Jean Arnauld d’Andilly, Marie Le Jars de Gournay, Anne Le Fèvre Dacier, Agnès Arnauld, Louise-Françoise de la Baume Le Blanc, marquise de La Vallière, Benedict de Spinoza, Nicolas Malebranche, Jacqueline Pascal, René Descartes, Sablé, Madeleine de Souvré, Marquise De, Deshoulières, Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde, La Sablière, Marguerite Hessein de, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon, Edward Herbert of Cherbury, and Richard Cumberland.

  • Famous People of the Enlightenment
    Biographical sketches of Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, Voltaire, Jean Jacque Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

  • 19th Century Philosophy
    Includes Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Marx, and William James.

  • One Hundred Twentieth-Century Philosophers
    Edited by Stuart Brown, Diane Collinson, and Robert Wilkinson, Routledge, 1998 Includes links to Hannah Arendt, Henri Bergson, Albert Camus, Noam Chomsky, Jacques Derrida, John Dewey, Michel Foucault, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Tillich, Simone Weil, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

  • Top Ten Philosophical Issues of the 21st Century
    Top Ten according to Stanford philosophers John Perry and Ken Taylor, and guests Brian Leiter, Jenann Ismael, and Martha Nussbaum on the 200th episode of Philosopher Talk.

  • Let's Settle This Once and For All: Who Really was the Greatest Philosopher of the 20th Century?
    No, I'm not going to spoil the surprise--you'll have to see for yourselves.

  • INDIVIDUAL PHILOSOPHERS

  • René Descartes (1596-1650)
    French philosopher and mathematician. He is regarded as the father of modern philosophy for defining a starting point for existence.

  • David Hume (1711-1776)
    Scottish philosopher; one of the most important philosophers to write in English, David Hume influenced Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, and Charles Darwin. According to this site, "Today, philosophers recognize Hume as a thoroughgoing exponent of philosophical naturalism, as a precursor of contemporary cognitive science, and as the inspiration for several of the most significant types of ethical theory developed in contemporary moral philosophy."

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
    Swiss born, ending up in Paris, France. According to this site: "Rousseau's profound insight can be found in almost every trace of modern philosophy today. Somewhat complicated and ambiguous, Rousseau's general philosophy tried to grasp an emotional and passionate side of man which he felt was left out of most previous philosophical thinking." His most important work was the Social Contract, describing the relationship of man with society.

  • Immanuel Kant Quotes
    Immanuel Kant, 1724-1804, German. Quotes from various works by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a German philosopher whose masterwork is "Critique of Pure Reason."

  • John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
    John Stuart Mill. 1806-1873, English. Mill was educated with the assistance of Jeremy Bentham. He learned Greek at three, Latin a little later, and by 12 was a competent logician, and by 16, an economist. This led to a nervous breakdown by 20, upon which time, he decided to leaven science with literature. This site also contains the texts of Mill's Utilitarianism, On Liberty, and his Autobiography.

  • Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
    From this site: "Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) was a 19th Century German philosopher and philologist. He is considered an important forerunner of Existentialism movement (although he does not fall neatly into any particular school), and his work has generated an extensive secondary literature within both the Continental Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy traditions of the 20th Century. He challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality, famously asserting that "God is dead", leading to (generally justified) charges of Atheism, Moral Skepticism, Relativism and Nihilism. His original notions of the "will to power" as mankind's main motivating principle, of the "Übermensch" as the goal of humanity, and of "eternal return" as a means of evaluating ones life, have all generated much debate and argument among scholars. He wrote prolifically and profoundly for many years under conditions of ill-health and often intense physical pain, ultimately succumbing to severe mental illness."

  • Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
    British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic, best known for work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy.

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
    Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-British. Wittgenstein's Tractatus Locico-Philosophicus was the only philosophy book he published, claiming it solved all major problems of philosophy which are based on misunderstandings of the logic of language.

  • Michel Foucault (1926-1984)
    Michel Foucault was a major figure in two successive waves of 20th century French thought--the structuralist wave of the 1960s and then the poststructuralist wave. By the premature end of his life, Foucault had some claim to be the most prominent living intellectual in France.

  • Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)
    Martin Heidegger, German philosopher, whose most recognized work, Being and Time, although notoriously difficult, is generally considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th Century.

  • Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
    French writer. From this site: His central philosophical work, L'Etre et le néant (Being and Nothingness), 1943, is a massive structuralization of his concept of being, from which much of modern existentialism derives. The existentialist humanism which Sartre propagates in his popular essay L'Existentialisme est un humanisme (Existentialism is a Humanism), 1946, can be glimpsed in the series of novels, Les Chemins de la Liberté (The Roads to Freedom), 1945-49.

  • David K. Lewis (1941-2001)
    American philosopher, David K. Lewis has an impressive biography on his own university's site, Princeton, where he taught beginning in 1970.

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Karen Briere
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