What is Modern Philosophy
Philosophy (the pursuit of wisdom) flourished as a pastime in ancient Greece and Rome before succumbing to more familiar pursuits in the long dark ages that followed the demise of the Roman Empire. While some embers of ancient wisdom smouldered on in the east, it was not until the 1600s that interest began to emerge once more in earnest, this time far to the north in a politically turbulent Europe. With the fresh vigour of new converts, a small but bold community of truth seekers rediscovered then pressed outwards on the ancient conception horizon. The fruits of their enquiries became known collectively as ‘modern’ ideas, and these not only spawned the scientific revolution but lead to much of what we know of as the ‘modern’ world.
Now-a days however, with the advent of post-modernism, teaching of the basic tenets of philosophy has long since lost favour. Although many may be familiar with the tenants of the scientific method (devised by one of the founding Moderns, Francis Bacon) less is known of the foundations of philosophy: upon which science is built.
The Maxim Foundation recognises some of the precepts of philosophy - and therefore Modern Philosophy - as these;
The matter of philosophy is Ideas.
Ideas exist isolated in the minds of those that have them, unless some device can be crafted to permit transmission and exchange. A tradition of agreeing upon sounds to represent ideas serves this purpose for mankind and forms the body and means of philosophy.
Thus language is utterly central to philosophy.
Primary Philosophy deals with the types and sources of ideas, while the ancient Trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) deal with the interface between these ideas and the words used to represent them and the power of reason to discern the consequences of words one to another. Once a familiarity with Primary Philosophy has been gained the fruits of these studies are then applied in what has been called Particular Philosophy.
Particular Philosophy is commonly divided into three;
Natural Philosophy: relating to the impressions we received from without us through the medium of our senses (but excluding those related to mankind).
Moral Philosophy: considerations that relate to mankind.
Mathematical (or Metaphysical) Philosophy: contemplates what is possible after taking the leap to absolutes (for example a unit in maths or a point in geometry).
Each of these particular realms of philosophy have differing levels of proof; varying from absolute in Metaphysical Philosophy, to some lesser amount in Natural Philosophy (say 1 contradiction in 20 is a common threshold used in much science) to truth being found only in the most part when considering things moral.
These are some of the foundational understandings upon which expeditions into the unknown have been launched since the mid first millennium bc and which the Maxim Foundation endeavours to continue.