Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an endeavor that has been, since antiquity, distinct from and superior to any particular intellectual discipline, such as theology or science. Such philosoph- ical concerns as the mind-body problem or, more generally, the nature of human knowledge they believe, are basic human questions whose tentative philosophical solutions have served as the necessary foundations on which all other intellectual speculation has rested.
The basis for this view, however, lies in a serious misinterpretation of the past, a projection of modern concerns onto past events. The idea of an autonomous discipline called "philosophy," distinct from and sitting in judgment on such pursuits as theology and science turns out, on close examination, to be of quite recent origin. When, in the seventeenth century, Descartes and Hobbes rejected medieval philosophy, they did not think of themselves, as modern philosophers do, as proposing a new and better philosophy, but rather as furthering "the warfare between science and theology." They were fighting, albeit discreetly, to open the intellectual world to the new science and to liberate intellectual life from ecclesiastical philosophy and envisioned their work as contributing to the growth, not of philosophy, but of research in mathematics and physics. This link between philosophical interests and scientific practice persisted until the nineteenth century, when decline in ecclesiastical power over scholarship and changes in the nature of science provoked the final separation of philosophy from both.
The demarcation of philosophy from science was facilitated by the development in the early nineteenth century of a new notion, that philosophy's core interest should be epistemology, the general explanation of what it means to know something. Modern philosophers now trace that notion back at least to Descartes and Spinoza, but it was not explicitly articulated until the late eighteenth century, by Kant, and did not become built into the structure of academic institutions and the standard self-descriptions of philosophy professors until the late nineteenth century. Without the idea of epistemology, the survival of philosophy in an age of modern science is hard to imagine. Metaphysics, philosophy's traditional core-considered as the most general description of how the heavens and the earth are put together-had been rendered almost completely meaningless by the spectacular progress of physics. Kant, however, by focusing philosophy on the problem of knowledge, managed to replace metaphysics with epistemology, and thus to transform the notion of philosophy as "queen of sciences" into the new notion of philosophy as a separate, foundational discipline. Philosophy became "primary" no longer in the sense of "highest" but in the sense of "underlying." After Kant, philosophers were able to reinterpret seventeenth-and eighteenth-century thinkers as attempting to discover "How is our knowledge possible?" and to project this question back even on the ancients.
Which of the following best expresses the author's main point?
A.Philosophy's overriding interest in basic human questions is a legacy primarily of the work of Kant.
B.Philosophy was deeply involved in the seventeenth-century warfare between science and religion.
C.The set of problems of primary importance to philosophers has remained relatively constant since antiquity.
D.The status of philosophy as an independent intellectual pursuit is a relatively recent development.
E.The role of philosophy in guiding intellectual speculation has gradually been usurped by science.
According to the passage, present-day philosophers believe that the mind-body problem is an issue that
A.has implications primarily for philosophers
B.may be affected by recent advances in science
C.has shaped recent work in epistemology
D.has little relevance to present-day philosophy
E.has served as a basis for intellectual speculation since antiquity
According to the author, philosophy became distinct from science and theology during the
The author suggests that Descartes' support for the new science of the seventeenth century can be characterized as
A.pragmatic and hypocritical
B.cautious and inconsistent
C.daring and opportunistic
D.intense but fleeting
E.strong but prudent
The author of the passage implies which of the following in discussing the development of philosophy during the nineteenth century?
A.Nineteenth-century philosophy took science as its model for understanding the bases of knowledge.
B.The role of academic institutions in shaping metaphysical philosophy grew enormously during the nineteenth century.
C.Nineteenth-century philosophers carried out a program of investigation explicitly laid out by Descartes and Spinoza.
D.Kant had an overwhelming impact on the direction of nineteenth-century philosophy.
E.Nineteenth-century philosophy made major advances in understanding the nature of knowledge.
With which of the following statements concerning the writing of history would the author of the passage be most likely to agree?
A.History should not emphasize the role played by ideas over the role played by individuals.
B.History should not be distorted by attributing present-day consciousness to historical figures.
C.History should not be focused primarily on those past events most relevant to the present.
D.History should be concerned with describing those aspects of the past that differ most from those of the present.
E.History should be examined for the lessons it can provide in understanding current problems.
The primary function of the passage as a whole is to
A.compare two competing models
B.analyze a difficult theory
C.present new evidence for a theory
D.correct an erroneous belief by describing its origins
E.resolve a long-standing theoretical controversy