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Philosophy

  • Socrates and Alcibiades, by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
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By Colin Davies

Colin Davies assesses the ancient Greek whose philosophy seemed to have banished certainty forever. In Socrates' midst, there flourished a new humanism in which man saw himself as the denizen of an indifferent universe

Gifted; energetic; passionate; unruly: Hamilton was “perhaps the most creative figure thrown up by the American Revolution.” By Esmond Wright.

The legend that Babeuf had created and the doctrines of Babouvism became a powerful force in nineteenth-century Europe. W.J. Fishman writes how, among those whom it inspired, were the authors of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Michael D. Biddiss describes one of the chief originators of the pernicious racist doctrines that have played so malevolent a part in the history of modern Germany. Gobineau was a French historian whom a nineteenth-century German professor once described as a ‘God-inspired hero’.

E.E.Y. Hales describes Europe's premier revolutionary between the years 1835 and 1860, who was inspired by patriotism, belief in democracy, and lofty religious ideals.

In his youth hailed by Carlyle as a “new Mystic,” later acclaimed by his contemporaries as the “saint of rationalism,” John Stuart Mill was an extraordinarily versatile writer. Maurice Cranston profiles a man of very wide interests, who became the personification of Victorian liberal democracy and “the agnostic’s equivalent of a godfather” to the infant Bertrand Russell.

George Woodcock introduces the great rival of Marx and the founder of organized anarchism.

As it has fallen to the lot of our generation to relive the experiences of a Jeremiah and Josephus, writes Martin Braun, it is not surprising that a literature of historical self-analysis has sprung up in post-war Europe—most notably in Germany.

‘Human society must be begun again’, wrote Chamfort, who, after delighting the Court and the fashionable world, became an eloquent prophet of the Revolution. By Alaric Jacob.

“There is no analogy,” wrote Bury, “between the development of a society and the life of an individual man.” Martin Braun describes how Spengler, Toynbee, Sorokin and others have sought to controvert him by arguing the case for the “Senescence of the West.”

J.H.M. Salmon describes how the Philosophes of the French eighteenth century had an unshakeable belief in their own achievement and the progress of mankind.

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