Open main menu

Early modern philosophy

Early modern philosophy (also classical modern philosophy)[1][2] is a period in the history of philosophy at the beginning or overlapping with the period known as modern philosophy.



The early modern period in history is roughly 1500–1789,[3] but the label "early modern philosophy" is usually used to refer to a more specific period of time.

In the narrowest sense, the term is used to refer principally to the philosophy of the 17th century, posited to have begun with René Descartes; to have included Thomas Hobbes, Blaise Pascal, Baruch Spinoza; and to have ended with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Isaac Newton. Many stretch this period to 18th-century philosophy (the Age of Enlightenment), thus including John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.[2]

The term is sometimes used more broadly and early modern philosophy is considered to have begun in the 16th century[4] with Niccolò Machiavelli, Martin Luther and John Calvin; to have also included Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Francis Bacon, Giambattista Vico, Voltaire and Thomas Paine; and to have ended at the latest in 1804 with the death of Immanuel Kant. Considered in this way, the period spans from Renaissance philosophy to the Age of Enlightenment.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jeffrey Tlumak, Classical Modern Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction, Routledge, 2006, p. xi: "[Classical Modern Philosophy] is a guide through the systems of the seven brilliant seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European philosophers most regularly taught in college Modern Philosophy courses".
  2. ^ a b Richard Schacht, Classical Modern Philosophers: Descartes to Kant, Routledge, 2013, p. 1: "Seven men have come to stand out from all of their counterparts in what has come to be known as the 'modern' period in the history of philosophy (i.e., the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries): Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant".
  3. ^ Marshall Berman. 1982. All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-24602-X. London: Verso. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-86091-785-1. Paperback reprint New York: Viking Penguin, 1988. ISBN 0-14-010962-5.
  4. ^ Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 44 n. 2.


External linksEdit