Understanding Rationalism
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Series: Understanding Movements in Modern Thought
Author(s): Charlie Huenemann  
ISBN: 1844651134
ISBN-13: 9781844651139
Publication Date: 30/01/08
Pages: 176 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £14.99
Discount Price: £11.99
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The three great historical philosophers most often associated with rationalism – Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz – opened up ingenious and breathtaking vistas upon the world. Yet their works are so difficult that readers often find themselves stymied. Understanding Rationalism offers a guide for anyone approaching these thinkers for the first time.

With clear explanations, elegant examples and insightful summaries, Understanding Rationalism unlocks their intricate metaphysical systems, which are by turns surprising, compelling and sometimes bizarre. It also lays out their controversial stances on moral, political and religious problems. The study is framed by an opening discussion of the broad themes and attitudes common to these three philosophers and a closing analysis of the legacy they left for the rest of philosophy.


"As a short, basic introduction to the central ideas of Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, this book is geared towards the reader who is approaching this material for the first time. Huenemann does an excellent job of laying out the general philosophical projects and main theses and arguments of the three classic 'rationalists', and of showing just what they have in common and where they go their separate ways. But the book should also be of interest to more seasoned readers in so far as it offers a modest revision of the way in which early modern schools of thought are categorized. Huenemann rightly rejects the old way of breaking philosophers up into rationalists and empiricists on the basis of a few simplistic theses." – Steven Nadler, TLS

"The book succeeds amazingly well in its goal of presenting the systems of the three great rationalists in a very short space, covering a remarkable amount of ground effortlessly and without oversimplification." – Michael Della Rocca, Yale University

Charlie Huenemann is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University.

1. Descartes's Minds and Bodies
2. Morals and The Passion of the Soul
3. Spinoza's One Substance
4. Ethics, Politics and Religion
5. Leibniz's World of Monads
6. Justice and Freedom

Also available in Hardback (1844651126), priced 45.00

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