Modern philosophy is the period of the development of philosophy of Western Europe in the 17th – 18th century, characterized with the development of capitalism, science and technology and the formation of the experimental-mathematical worldview. This period is often called the epoch of scientific revolution. Sometimes modern philosophy also includes the philosophy of the 19th century. The core men of thought of philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics of the 17th and 18th century are divided into the two major groups: rationalism and empiricism. Rationalists were concentrated in France and Germany and their ideas were based on the definite rational thoughts existing in the human mind. The main representatives of rationalism are Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz and Nicholas Malebranche. Empiricists thought that the human knowledge depends on sensory experience but not on the inborn rationalism.
The key figures of this trend are John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume. The actual concepts of rationalism and empiricism appeared later due to Immanuel Kant who explained and classified them in the appropriate way. Moreover, he managed to unite these two trends generating his own model of philosophy – German idealism. Kant gave rapid development to the German philosophical thought at the beginning of the 19th century. The further development of German idealism was connected with the activity of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Ethics and political philosophy are not observed through these concepts, but still the representatives of these trends managed to solve all these issues in rationalism and empiricism. The most famous representatives of political philosophy are Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Modern philosophy is the important period of the development of Western European philosophy, because it gave birth to the latest philosophic trends and worldviews. The student who is asked to prepare a successful term paper about modern philosophy should focus on the explanation of the peculiarities of the period, its main trends, the brightest representatives of various philosophic trends and their ideas. One should compare the ideas of several representatives from different branches of modern philosophy and illustrate their impact on the development and formation of the modern worldview. The student has to prepare an informative term paper with the logical and chronologically correct presentation of the trends and philosophers.
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