By: Alfred William Benn (1843-1915)
This book is a brief, but cogent discussion of Western philosophy-- from Francis Bacon and Giordano Bruno through Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, Hume, Berkeley and Kant, the German idealists and Hegel, and ending with such nineteenth century luminaries as Mill, Spencer, and Nietzsche. Enchanted with Copernicus, Bruno goes to the stake for positing an infinity of inhabited worlds. Descartes, a professed skeptic, manages to justify everything the Jesuits taught him at La Flèche, while Spinoza, in mystical awe, envisions a pantheistic cosmos in which thought and extension are one and the same thing--God. The British philosopher, A.W. Benn, presents each thinker biographically and within the context of his philosophical predecessors and contemporaries.