Modern philosophy


In the period known as modernism , a change was made in the conception of the world due to the fact that man changed the centralist position that religion had had until that moment within the altercations related to thought . In this new period, matters that were related to humanity and the nature of things became the subject on which philosophers debated in order to achieve authentic reality .


What is modern philosophy?

The modern philosophy is the philosophy that intends to achieve part intellectual of man in order to be able to solve the problems arising from the scientific revolution .

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of modern philosophy
  • Background
  • History
  • Main topics
  • Problems of modern philosophy
  • Schools
  • Who is the father of modern philosophy
  • Other representatives
  • Importance of modern philosophy

What does it consist of

Philosophy, as we already know, is a discipline that is responsible for investigating and trying to solve the main questions that man has, such as existence , ethics , knowledge and language, among others. The philosophy that was born in the Renaissance and that extended until the last years of the 20th century , was the modern philosophy that was characterized by having subjectivity to produce a change in the way in which the problems of man’s life were investigated .


Characteristics of modern philosophy

Among the most representative characteristics of modern philosophy we can mention the following:

  • An important advance was made in the way the world and thought were conceived .
  • The man begins to become the center of the universe .
  • There was the supremacy of the human being against religion and human and natural questions began to have more importance in the philosophical debate.
  • The scientific conceptions have a great influence on the philosophical currents.
  • The theory of knowledge or what is known by the name of epistemology emerges .
  • It reflects on reality and it also becomes a philosophical object open to debate.
  • A new concept of truth is acquired including thoughts and intellect , affirming that the truth is found in the mind.
  • Autonomy of thought begins to be experienced .
  • The main basis of philosophy was reason .
  • The freedom becomes a necessity authentic covering all activities of thought and human.


The antecedents of modern philosophy were the crisis of scholasticism also known as nominalism, which was a period of political , religious , social and economic crisis , it was a time in which God was separated from the immortality of the soul . The Renaissance and humanism in which man became the center of the cosmos producing a revival of classical culture through the study of ancient texts and translations. Scientific revolution that produces the separation of philosophyand that provides a new form of effective knowledge. The physical becomes a science and there is a new study of the cosmos . In addition, the development of science occurs as a process that is cumulative.


The history of modern philosophy is divided into the following stages:

  • Renaissance, this era consists of the following phases
  • Humanism
  • The new science of nature : Copernicus, G. Bruno, Galileo Galilei, F. Bacon, I. Newton
  • The Protestant Reformation : Martin Luther, J. Calvin
  • The New Theory of the State : Machiavelli
  • From the Baroque in which the following currents occurred
  • Rationalism : Descartes
  • Of Identity : Spinoza
  • From the Enlightenment with the following stages
  • The English : J. Loocke, Hobbes, Berkeley, Hume.
  • The French : Montesquieu, Voltaire , Diderot, Rousseau
  • The German : Wolff, Lessing, Hamman, Herder.

Main topics

The main themes of modern philosophy were:

  • the rationalism
  • the empiricism
  • The French illustration
  • Transcendental idealism

Problems of modern philosophy

The main problems of modern philosophy have been:

  • The medieval philosophy conjugated the thought pagan Platonic and Aristotelian with Christian thought.
  • The new philosophy worshiped the scientific mathematical method and left aside the metaphysical spirit .
  • There was a great doctrinal dispersion that contrasted with the unity of Christian thought in the Middle Ages .
  • A new problem is registered in the changes that divided medieval thought and modern thought.
  • The true values of philosophy diminished and there was a period of transition to modern thought.


Among the main schools or currents that modern philosophy has had, we mention:

  • Rationalism : characterized by the primacy of reason to base knowledge against faith, the irrational , empirical experience . There was a fascination for mathematics and for the defense of innate ideas and intellectual intuition . Its main representatives were René Descartes , Baruch Spinoza, Nicolás de Malebranche , Wilhelm von Leibniz .
  • Empiricism : it was born in opposition to rationalism and its main characteristic was the subjectivism of knowledge, experience as a source of knowledge , the denial of the innate ideas of rationalists and the denial of the objective value of universal concepts . Among its main representatives we mention John Locke and David Hume .
  • Illustration : he faced obscurantism and among its most important characteristics were the self – limitation of reason within experience and empiricism to address aspects of reality. Its main representatives are Voltaire , Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau .
  • Transcendental idealism : an expression used by Immanuel Kant to talk about his own philosophy. Characterized by affirming that human knowledge refers to phenomena and not to things in themselves and went against philosophical realism .

Who is the father of modern philosophy

The French philosopher René Descartes is considered the father of modern philosophy because his thought made possible the creation of a new mathematical science , an analytical geometry and managed to reach the conclusion that to avoid error, one must not only be intelligent but must be apply intelligence appropriately. He was the promoter and pioneer at the same time of rationalism, a doctrine that explains that reality is rational and that it can only be understood through the use of reason. His fundamental proposal was called methodical doubt and involved putting all theknowledge to find unequivocal principles on which knowledge or knowledge will be based .

Other representatives

Among the main authors of modern philosophy have been:

  • Descartes : applied philosophy to rational procedures in science and mathematics .
  • Malebranche : faced the problem of Descartes and tried to escape dualism by concluding that the soul and the body have an essential heterogeneity.
  • Leibniz : proposed a unification of the sciences uniting the spirits. His method had deductive and mathematical characteristics, which were characteristic of rationalism.
  • Locke : created the theory of knowledge , independent of philosophy.
  • Berkeley : He was concerned with the theological realm , Hobbes’s materialism , and the doctrines of the freedom thinkers .
  • Voltaire : rejected everything that was irrational and incomprehensible .
  • Rousseau : he opposed the French illustration because he thought it devalued culture, reason and society.

Importance of modern philosophy

The importance of modern philosophy is that it awakens man from theocentric thought and makes him look at and be able to admire the real world that surrounds him. It causes the collapse of scholasticism and also imposes a series of renewed schemes where reason predominates.

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