Philosophy Index

Modern Philosophy

The period of modern philosophy is marked by the development of science and art in which the Catholic church is beginning to lose power in a Europe that is developing intellectually and emotionally. As a result, the same intellectual spirit that saw the ancient Greeks questioning mythology and asking deep questions returned. Modern philosophy, thus, consists of a mix of new approaches to philosophy fueled by science, rejections of religious teachings and, on the other hand, defenses of religion based on the new evidence.

The modern philosophical era also saw the revival of epistemology as one of its central features, as new forms of science brought forth the question of whether or not empirical data is a suitable source of knowledge.

Defining the modern period

What counts as ‘modern philosophy’ is often disputed. On some accounts, it includes everything since the middle ages, and hence from the Renaissance on. On others, modern philosophy did not occur until the seventeenth century. For the purposes of this site, the Renaissance period from the late-fourteenth century to the early seventeenth century (around the time of Descartes) will count as ‘early modern philosophy’, while everything until the twentieth century will count as the modern period.

Early modern philosophers

Modern philosophers