This illuminating work explores six great thinkers of the early modern period: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. While not neglecting the historical setting of each, its focus is on the words they wrote. As in all of Bennett's works, it addresses philosophy as philosophy, not as museum exhibit, and it offers a close and demanding attention to textual details. For newcomers to the early modern scene, this clearly written work is an excellent introduction, and for those already in the know, it provides tools to argue with the great philosophers of the past, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, students, and teachers.
Jonathan Bennett, who now lives on an island near Vancouver, BC, was formerly Lecturer in Moral Science at the University of Cambridge, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and then at Syracuse University. He has held visiting positions at Cornell, Michigan,Pittsburgh, and Princeton, and has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy.