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By Frederick Charles Copleston
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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy [Vol IV]
For they meet in man. Man is both an item in Nature, in the physical system, and a moral and free agent. The question is, therefore, how can the two points of view, the scientific and the moral, be harmonized without denying either of them. This, it seems to me, is Kant's fundamental problem. And it is as well to realize this from the outset. Otherwise the emphasis which is very naturally placed on the analytical and critical aspects of his thought may almost totally obscure the profound speculative motivation of his philosophy.
It is true that to over-emphasize what I may call the negative or destructive influence of Kant is to give a onesided view of his philosophy. But this does not alter the fact that in the eyes of many people he appears as the great debunker of speculative metaphysics. Kant's intellectual life falls into two periods, the pre-critical and the critical periods. In the first he was under the influence of the Leibnizian-Wolffian tradition; in the second he worked out his own original point of view. His first great work, The Critique of Pure Reason, appeared in 1781.
But though Rousseau's doctrine of the social contract falls into 47 A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY-IV the general pattern of the political theory of the Enlightenment, he added a new feature to political philosophy which was of considerable importance. Like Hobbes and Locke before him, he envisaged individuals as agreeing together to form society. But once the social contract has taken place, a new body or organism comes into being which possesses a common life and a common will. This common or general will always tends to the preservation and welfare of the whole, and it is the rule or norm of law and of justice and injustice.
A History of Philosophy [Vol IV] by Frederick Charles Copleston