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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason and its chapters. The explanation of the world in terms of power has been widespread among human cultures. The assumptions concerning such a power or powers differ widely, but most explanatory schemes seem to share the quest for the ultimate producing factor that needs no further explanation that nevertheless manifests itself in the world appearing to our senses. In brief, this book discusses the idea of a universal, rational, and active power and its development in European thought, especially in Plato, Stoicism, Neoplatonism, early and late medieval scholasticism, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. The idea for this anthology arouse out of discussions in the ?Rationalist Circle?, an informal group initiated by Professor Olli Koistinen at the Department of Philosophy, University of Turku.

Keywords: active power; European thought; human cultures; medieval scholasticism; Neoplatonism; Plato; rationalist circle; Stoicism; world

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