By Frederick Charles Copleston
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Additional info for A History of Philosophy [Vol IV]
We are not accustomed to speak of Hume or of Justus Moser (author of an Osnabruckische Geschichte, 1768) as philosophers of history. But when a man treats of universal history and either gives a finalistic interpretation of historical development or concerns himself with universally-operative laws, it is not improper to speak of him as a philosopher of history. Bossuet in the seventeenth century would count as one. And in the eighteenth century there are a number of notable examples. The most eminent of these is doubtless John-Baptist Vico (1668- 1744).
Kant starts from the fad of the awareness or consciousness of moral obligation. And he tries to show that moral obligation presupposes freedom. If I ought, I can. Further, the moral law commands perfect conformity with itself, perfect virtue. But this is an ideal for the attainment of which, Kant assumes, endless duration is required. Hence immortality, in the sense of neverending progress towards the ideal, is a 'postulate' of the moral law. Again, though morality does not mean acting with a view to one's happiness, morality should produce happiness.
And one of the most effective checks to unbridled despotism is the division of powers, so that the legislative and executive powers are not vested simply in the hands of one man. y nature inclined to social life and even impelled to it. The general spirit, however, of Locke's theory is different from that of Hobbes. Behind the latter we can see the fear of civil war and anarchy; behind the former we can see a concern with the preservation and promotion of liberty. The stress which Locke lays on the separation between the legislative and executive powers reflects to some extent the struggle between parliament and monarch.