Richard Kennington (1921-1999), a professor for many years at Pennsylvania State University and the Catholic University of America, was renowned for his insight in reading and teaching early modern philosophy. Although he published articles and spoke widely, never before have his writings been collected in a book. On Modern Origins deftly shows how modern thinkers assessed the errors of the classical tradition and established in its place a philosophy that fuses a new meaning of nature and of theory with humanitarian goals. This volume is an essential source for scholars seeking to understand the contemporary significance of the dawning of the modern era.
Superbly practicing the art of reading, Richard Kennington uncovers the founding arguments of the early modern philosophers. His explications of the thought of Bacon and Descartes on the relations between method, experiential starting-points, and the final purposes of inquiry, are sans pareil for depth and subtlety. Kennington's work builds on insights of Heidegger, Leo Strauss, and Jacob Klein concerning the origins and intent of the modern project of mastering nature, but his reflection on this theme is more thorough and in the end more satisfying than any previous account.--Richard Velkley, Catholic University of America