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Prolegomena to the Study of Modern Philosophy



This book is divided into nine chapters trying to draw attention to the various aspects of the understanding of God, to the question of the individual, the ideal state arrangement, and the question of freedom (free will) as well as of history. Special attention is paid to the issue of cognition, the question of reason and sense, as well as language and the issue of a system in philosophy. The chapters are arranged to show the historical characteristics of the issues with an introduction of the key approach and ideas with references.
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Socio-Philosophical Writings of the Modern Period


Keywords: utopias, Machiavellianism, social contract, essays, Volkgeist

A unique topic of Renaissance and modern thinking is the question of an ideal social organization. An interest in optimal state establishment or the classification of governments can also be found in ancient philosophy, however, in the modern period the question of understanding our sociability and the way it should be organised became one of the key topics of thinking.

The reason for this might be best expressed in Hobbes’ reflection, On the Citizen. Hobbes noticed that if we truly were zoon politikon (sociable by nature), there would likely be no antisocial or non-altruistic signs of behaviour. If our sociability is rooted directly in our essence, we should love everybody equally and we should not commit offenses against them (Hobbes 2003, 22 – 24). However, it is not like this. What then is the cause of our sociability? Hobbes believes this can be observed ← 49 | 50 → through the reasons why, how, and when we seek the company of others. In the majority of cases, our sociability depends on the benefits we gain from the given society or relation. The benefits need not be immediate and material; these can also be finer aspects of our existence, such as feeling safe, pleasant emotions and friendship as trust or reputation. However, according to Hobbes, sociability is always something which improves our own existence; therefore, sociability is in fact an instrument of better living.

Yet, Hobbes was not the first to reflect...

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