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8 - The Art of Thinking

from Part II - Disciplinary Activities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2022

David Marshall Miller
Affiliation:
Iowa State University
Dana Jalobeanu
Affiliation:
University of Bucharest
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Summary

This chapter proposes a contextual approach to the history of early modern logic and method from the perspective of the late seventeenth-century debate over the relative worth of ancient and modern learning. Reflections on a modern “art of thinking” by authors on both sides of the debate contributed to the construction of an image of philosophical modernity at the high point of the Scientific Revolution, which would subsequently help fashion the self-understanding of the Enlightenment. This image was inherently polemical and pluralistic, as shown by analyzing the variety of canons of authors and by identifying the diversity of positions on the ingredients of the modern “art of thinking” in their writings. And yet the points of disagreement also reveal an underlying consensus about the core features a logic required: that an art of thinking would have to express the natural operations of the human mind, would ground the pursuit of the sciences, and would be capable of leading the mind to the discovery of genuinely novel and valuable truths about the natural world. This chapter also provides a reevaluation of the traditional canon of important thinkers who are thought to have spearheaded modernity.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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