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It is a challenge in teaching early modern philosophy to balance historical faithfulness to the arguments and concerns of early modern philosophers and interpreting them as relevant to the kinds of thinking that contemporary undergraduate students find plausible. Early modern philosophy is unique, however, in applying modern scientific method directly to problems concerning nonphysical aspects of reality that our contemporary scientific thought, and with it mainstream contemporary culture, no longer finds amenable in their own, independent right to reliable reasoned approaches. At the same time, early modern philosophy often also takes seriously purely conceptual or logically consequential thought in the investigation of these topics, as our mainstream contemporary culture does not. This kind of thought, we argue, is distinctive of philosophy in general and appropriate to nonphysical aspects of reality. Early modern philosophy, then, offers a bridge between the kind of reasoned, objective thought our mainstream culture finds plausible and thought about nonphysical reality or, in general, the thought that characterizes philosophy.


This is the authors’ manuscript. The version of record is available from the publisher at Copyright © 2015 Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved.

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