The great chain of being: a study of the history of an idea

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Harvard University Press, 1964 - Mathematics - 382 pages
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.

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User Review  - librisissimo -

Substance: Lovejoy's purpose is to trace the philosophical idea known as "The Great Chain of Being" from its Platonic and neo-Platonic sources through the writings of the "great philosophers" up to ... Read full review

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A wonderful illuminating book that can reconstitute your mind and stay with you as a companion in your life of the mind. Read full review


The Chain of Being and Some Internal Conflicts
The Principle of Plenitude and the New Cosmog

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