Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 11, Issue Supplement, 1985

Microfiche Supplement to Volume 11

Richard A. Talaska
Pages 1-86

The Emergence of the Early Modern Concept of System

This study is meant to provide a means of understanding the change of philosophic perspective from the naive classical view that natures manifest themselves to mind to the modern view that they do so only as mediated by thought or speech. It does so by tracing the emergence of the early modern concept that philosophy must be presented as a system of propositions or laws in order to be scientific. It is argued that certain early moderns adopted the term system from the Stoic definition of art, and that they clearly delineated the essential characteristics of systematicity but spoke only of systems of individual sciences. Régis first applied the term to philosophy as a whole, but Hobbes before him conceived of system in Régis's sense. The conclusion is a more precise understanding of the origin of the modern use of the term and of the meaning of the early modern concept of philosophic system.