London: Burns and Oates Limited, 1961-1966. Eight volumes. Octavo, original blue cloth, gilt and blind-stamped, original uniform dust jackets. A nearly-fine set. Item #1248
"NEO-PLATONISM WAS THE LAST BREATH, THE LAST FLOWER, OF ANCIENT PAGAN PHILOSOPHY; BUT IN THE THOUGHT OF ST. AUGUSTINE IT BECAME THE FIRST STAGE OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY"
Complete 8 volume set of the English Jesuit''s esteemed history of Western philosophy—published by the Jesuit Fathers at Heythrop College and now quite uncommon in the original uniform dust jackets. A ninth volume (usually viewed as supplemental), covering recent developments in modern philosophy, was issued by a different publisher (Search Press) in 1974.
Received into the Catholic Church in 1925, Frederick Copleston entered the Society of Jesus in 1930 and was ordained in 1937. Father Copleston was known as an outstanding scholar. "In time he became not only a celebrated philosopher but also something of a celebrity in his own right, broadcasting frequently for the BBC, including discussions on the existence of God with Bertrand Russell and logical positivism with Professor A.J. Ayer. He is probably best known to posterity as the author of a monumental nine-volume history of philosophy but was also author of the best introduction to Aquinas available in English, published in 1955" (Joseph Pearce). Developed and written while teaching at Heythrop and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and first published in 1946, Copleston's opus provided clear accounts of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy to a generation of Catholic seminarians and university students. Copleston expanded on his Thomist and Scholastic foundations to treat the logical development and interconnection of a broad range of philosophical systems.
In the Preface to the first volume, Copleston explains: "My chief motive in writing this book, which is designed to be the first volume of a complete history of philosophy, has been that of supplying Catholic ecclesiastical seminaries with a work that should be somewhat more detailed and of wider scope than the text-books commonly in use." The set consists of Volume I: Greece and Rome, Volume II: Augustine to Scotus, Volume III: Ockham to Suarez, Volume IV: Descartes to Leibniz, Volume V: Hobbes to Hume, Volume VI: Wolff to Kant, Volume VII: Fichte to Nietzsche, Volume VIII: Bentham to Russell. Published as numbers IX - XIX in The Bellarmine Series, published by the Jesuit Fathers at Heythrop College under General Editor, Edmund Sutcliffe, S.J. and printed by Burns and Oates ("Printers to the Holy See"). Mixed edition: volumes 5,7, and 8 are first editions. Most of the sets printed were destined for seminary and university libraries so this set, complete and privately-owned, is unusual. With original (1944) Approbations. Pearce. Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief.