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This volume is about continuity in the history of philosophy. Its subject is the philosophical legacy of post-medieval Platonism. The particular continuity on which it focuses is the period usually seen as the watershed dividing modern philosophy from its predecessors. Most histories of modern philosophy treat the seventeenth century—the age of Descartes, Hobbes and Locke—as the period from which modern philosophy takes its rise.1 And in most accounts of the rise of modern philosophy, Platonism is not normally considered part of the picture. Yet this is something of a paradox. For in many respects Platonism seems to have shaped so much of European philosophy —as A.N. Whitehead famously, if provocatively, quipped, most of Western philosophy may be seen as a set of footnotes to Plato.2 Nevertheless, Platonism is not normally regarded as contributing to the emergence of modern philosophy. Indeed, Platonism and modernity are not even viewed as compatible. It is a foundational premise of this collection that these perceptions are more apparent than real, and that they may be explained to a large extent historiographically. The essays here presented explore the vitality of the Platonic tradition in its early modern manifestations, and its impact on major philosophers of the period.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Modern Philosophy Philosophical Legacy Early Modern Period Latin Translation
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