For more than three decades, Margaret Wilson’s essays on early modern philosophy have influenced scholarly debate. Many are considered classics in the field and remain as important today as they were when they were first published. Until now, however, they have never been available in book form and some have been particularly difficult to find. This collection not only provides access to nearly all of Wilson’s most significant work, but also demonstrates the continuity of her thought over time. These essays show that Wilson possesses a keen intelligence, coupled with a fearlessness in tackling the work of early modern philosophers as well as the writing of modern commentators. Many of the pieces collected here respond to philosophical issues of continuing importance.
The thirty-one essays gathered here deal with some of the best known early philosophers, including Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Spinoza, and Berkeley. As this collection shows, Wilson is a demanding critic. She repeatedly asks whether the philosophers’ arguments were adequate to the problems they were trying to solve and whether these arguments remain compelling today. She is not afraid to engage in complex argument but, at the same time, her own writing remains clear and fresh. Ideas and Mechanism is an essential collection of work by one of the leading scholars of our era.
Originally published in 1999.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.