By W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin
A heritage OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY examines the character of philosophical firm and philosophy's position in Western tradition. Jones and Fogelin weave key passages from vintage philosophy works into their reviews and criticisms, giving A historical past OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY the mixed benefits of a resource ebook and textbook. The textual content concentrates on significant figures in every one ancient interval, combining exposition with direct quotations from the philosophers themselves. The textual content areas philosophers in acceptable cultural context and exhibits how their theories mirror the worries in their instances.
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Extra resources for A History of Western Philosophy: Hobbes to Hume
Trade was on a municipal, rather than a national, scale (for as yet there were no "nations" in the sense in which we understand the term); and the various municipalities engaged in exclusive practices. Partly, this was a result of suspicion of "foreigners"; when they were allowed to trade, it was only with all sorts of restrictions, which once again limited initiative. Partly, it was a result of the belief that the city would profit most when it secured complete control of a given trade. In the Middle Ages this was relatively easy to do since the overland trade routes tended to converge on a few points (Aleppo and Alexandria, for instance, were the termini of the routes from the Indies), and in the days when ships seldom ventured out of sight of land, it was possible for a city that commanded a portion of the Mediterranean coast to exclude all its rivals.
Thus, though he rejected a religious sanction for law and other human institutions, Marsiglio retained a moral sanction. This is a long way from Dante and a still longer way from Thomas. Dante might object to the canon lawyers and insist that Holy Scripture is a higher authority than canon law. But Marsiglio was far more drastic. By his definition, canon law is not law at all; it does not issue from the whole people, nor has it the power to enforce its commands. In Marsiglio's view, the whole system of ecclesiastical courts, exemptions, and prerogatives by means of which the Church had gradually made itself a state within a state had no more legal standing than the house rules of a private club.
In addition, during the whole of the Middle Ages municipal life was vigorous in Italy; the Italian cities knew how to maintain their independence, and great trading centers like Venice and Genoa soon learned how to put the piety of the north to use in promoting their own commercial life. What is more, during the period when the medieval kings in France and England were emerging as monarchs of new nation-states, the Italian cities continued to maintain their independence. There was, in fact, no medieval Italian king to initiate the movement toward unity.