Catalogue


The great chain of being [electronic resource] : a study of the history of an idea : the William James lectures delivered at Harvard University, 1933 /
by Arthur O. Lovejoy.
imprint
Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, c1964.
description
ix, 382 p.
ISBN
0674361539 (pbk.), 9780674361539 (pbk.)
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
imprint
Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, c1964.
isbn
0674361539 (pbk.)
9780674361539 (pbk.)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8841249
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [335]-373) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
The Great Chain of Being , employed as a title, would have suggested...what was 'probably the most widely familiar conception of the general scheme of things'--the idea of a world in which every being was related to every other in a continuously graded scale, with no possible form of diversity missing. Pursuing the biography of this idea through more than two thousand years, the distinguished author of these lectures makes clear its amazing influence on the thought and history of the Western World...Intellectual vigor, critical precision and an amazing knowledge of what mankind has thought and desired in other ages distinguishes this book. No student of the history of literature, science, or philosophy may well neglect it.
The Great Chain of Being, employed as a title, would have suggested...what was 'probably the most widely familiar conception of the general scheme of things'--the idea of a world in which every being was related to every other in a continuously graded scale, with no possible form of diversity missing. Pursuing the biography of this idea through more than two thousand years, the distinguished author of these lectures makes clear its amazing influence on the thought and history of the Western World...Intellectual vigor, critical precision and an amazing knowledge of what mankind has thought and desired in other ages distinguishes this book. No student of the history of literature, science, or philosophy may well neglect it.
A fascinating and moving book...Everyone interested in the larger ironies of human history should read [it].
Men are galvanized by ideas and act as vehicles for them...Such a ruling idea is that of the great chain of being . Prof. Lovejoy's study records the birth, the growth, the vicissitudes, transformations, and finally the senility, and perhaps the death of this idea. The study is as fascinating as that of the rise and decay of an empire, and, in fact, it is the study of the empire of an idea over human minds throughout many centuries...Prof. Lovejoy's approach is fresh and different...The learning exhibited in this book is vast.
Men are galvanized by ideas and act as vehicles for them...Such a ruling idea is that of the great chain of being. Prof. Lovejoy's study records the birth, the growth, the vicissitudes, transformations, and finally the senility, and perhaps the death of this idea. The study is as fascinating as that of the rise and decay of an empire, and, in fact, it is the study of the empire of an idea over human minds throughout many centuries...Prof. Lovejoy's approach is fresh and different...The learning exhibited in this book is vast.
One of the great books of our generation.
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Summaries
Main Description
From later antiquity down to the close of the eighteenth century, most philosophers and men of science and, indeed, most educated men, accepted without question a traditional view of the plan and structure of the world. In this volume, which embodies the William James lectures for 1933, Professor Lovejoy points out the three principles--plenitude, continuity, and graduation--which were combined in this conception; analyzes their origins in the philosophies of Plato, Aristole, and the Neoplatonists; traces the most important of their diverse samifications in subsequent religious thought, in metaphysics, in ethics and asesthics, and in astronomical and biological theories; and copiously illustrates the influence of the conception as a whole, and of the ideas out of which it was compounded, upon the imagination and feelings as expressed in literature.
Main Description
From later antiquity down to the close of the eighteenth century, most philosophers and men of science and, indeed, most educated men, accepted without question a traditional view of the plan and structure of the world. In this volume, which embodies the William James lectures for 1933, Arthur O. Lovejoy points out the three principles-plenitude, continuity, and graduation-which were combined in this conception; analyzes their origins in the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and the Neoplatonists; traces the most important of their diverse samifications in subsequent religious thought, in metaphysics, in ethics and aesthetics, and in astronomical and biological theories; and copiously illustrates the influence of the conception as a whole, and of the ideas out of which it was compounded, upon the imagination and feelings as expressed in literature.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the Study of the History of Ideas
The Genesis of the Idea in Greek Philosophy: the Three Principles
The Chain of Being and Some Internal Conflicts in Medieval Thought
The Principle of Plenitude and New Cosmography
Plenitude and Sufficient Reason in Leibniz and Spinoza
The Chain of Being in Eighteenth-Century Thought, and Man's Place and Rôle in Nature
The Principle of Plenitude and Eighteenth-Century Optimism
The Chain of Being and Some Aspects of Eighteenth-Century Biology
The Temporalizing of the Chain of Being
Romanticism and the Principle of Plenitude
The Outcome of the History and Its Moral
Notes
Index of Names and Subjects
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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