Wise Guys -- Their Works




Freud, Sigmund Interpretation of Dreams  He postulated that much of human behavior is motivated by unconscious emotional needs
Montaigne Book of Essays  Noted for his essays, he expressed skepticism toward accepted beliefs, condemned superstition and intolerance and urged man to live nobly.
Comte, August The Course of Positive Philosophy  History is divided into three stages: theological, works by God's will; metaphysical, works by natural law; scientific, forget generalizations and stick to facts.
Bacon, Francis Novum Organum  He gave science a progressionist bias. Science has as a practical purpose the goal of human improvement. His greatest achievement was persuading others that scientific thought must conform to empirical experience.
Petrarch A Letter to Boccaccio: Literary Humanism  He believed in reviving an interest in the classics, he wrote sonnets expressing a romantic love, and an appreciation of nature.
Boccaccio, Giovanni Decarmeron  His works portrayed lecherous friars, ambitious merchants and a frankly acquisitive, sensual and secular society.
Spinoza, Baruch Ethics  'in the light of eternity'; all determination is negation (metaphysics)
Hegel, George Philosophy of Right  Thesis vs. antithesis leads to synthesis.
Pico, della Mirandola Oration on the Dignity of Man  Man's place within the universe lies somewhere between beasts and angels, but there are no limits to what he can accomplish.
More, Thomas Utopia  He believed that the basic problems of society were caused by greed. Law should exalt mercy above justice. Citizens who live by reason will live a nearly perfect life.
Mahan, Alfred Influence of Sea Power on History  He believed that the future of military power lay in the navy.
Spencer, Herbert Social Statics: Liberal Philosophy  He believed that human society progresses through competition. If the weak received too much protection the rest of mankind was the loser. This concept was applied to avoid aiding the poor.
Galileo Two Chief Systems of the World  E pur se muove (It still moves). Geocentric theory of the universe.
Aquinas, Thomas Summa Theologica  He believed that Christianity's premises and date came from divine revelation rather than from empirical observation. Theology was considered a science, and he a scholastic.
Cellini, Benvenuto Autobiography  My cruel fate hath warr'd with me vain: Life, glory, worth, and all unmeasur'd skill, Beauty and grace, themselves in me fulfill, That many I surpass, and to the best attain. The author, certain of his genius, wrote so that all could appreciate it. Demonstrates excessive "hubris".
Bentham, Jeremy Principles of Morals and Legislation  He believed in the greatest good for the greatest number and that colonies were a burden for the mother country to carry.
Erasmus, Desiderius In Praise of Folly  Although a Catholic he believed that many priests had distorted the simple teaching of Christ. He admired clear honest thinking and disliked intolerance and persecution.
Machiavelli, Nicolo The Prince

 The chief foundations of all states are good laws and good arms (synonymous with deception, unscrupulousness and cunning).

The end justifies the means.

Marx, Karl Das Kapital  Believed in the rise of the proletariat.
Kant, Immanuel Critique of Pure Reason  The categorical imperative, transcendental logic; 'thing-in-itself'.
Voltaire Candide  He believed that the best one could hope for in government was an enlightened monarch since human beings are very rarely worthy to govern themselves.
Copernicus On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies  Heliocentric theory of the universe.
Ranke, Leopold Critizism of New Historians  The purpose of the historian is not to judge the past, in order to instruct the present, but only to show what actually occurred. One should not praise nor condemn an epoch. 'Every age is immediate to God.'
Malthus, Thomas Essay on the Principle of Population  Population growth would always exceed the food production leading to famine, pestilence and war.
Wollstonecrat, Mary Vindication of the Rights of Women  She believed that a woman's mind is as good as a man's.
Darwin, Charles Origin of the Species  His originality lay in suggesting how biological evolution might have occurred. He argued that chance differences among members of a species help some to survive while others die.
Descates, Rene Discourse on Method  Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am).
Ricardo, David Principles of Political Economy and Taxation  Rising wages favor capital intensive production over labor intensive production.
Blanc, Louis Organization of Work  He wanted to give the vote to the working class, a state controlled working class could finance workshops to employ the poor.
Fourier, Charles Theory of Four Movements  He advocated the construction of communities called PHALANXES in which liberated living would replace boredom and dullness of industrial life. It would be agrarian rather than industrial.
Nietzsche, Frederick The Will to Power  The will to power, transvaluation of values, God is dead.
Hobbes, Thomas The Leviathan  He maintained that sovereignty is ultimately derived from the people, who transfer it to the monarchy by implicit contract. The rule of the monarch is absolute, but not by divine right.
Goethe, Johann Dr. Faustus  His work demonstrated the deep spiritual problems that Europeans would encounter as the traditional moral and religious values of Christianity were abandoned.
Castiglione Book of the Courtier  He knew that the ideal man was many talented, including artistic, intellectual and physical skills. Wrote regarding manners.
Boussuet, Jacques Politics Drawn of Holy Scripture  He held fast to the Old Testament belief that rulers were divinely appointed by and answerable only to God.
Locke, John Second Treatise of Government  Knowledge is the perception of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas. Wrote to justify revolution and man's right to overthrow an unjust government. The mind is a blank slate (tabula rasa).
Mill, John Stuart On Liberty  He advocated the education of the working class as a means of raising their standard of living. He urged the formation of labor cooperatives. He supported the cause of women's rights.
Rousseau, Jean Jacques The Social Contract  Believed that individuals would surrender their natural liberty to one another, fusing their wills into a General Will which would be the true sovereign power. the majority is always right.
Sieyes, Abbe What is the Third Estate?  He believed that the nobility was useless, his motto became: 'confidence from below, authority from above.'
Grotius, Hugo Law of War and Peace  He tried to prove that such a thing a natural law existed and that states were bound by it. first to propose the concept of a"united nations" and believed war should be outlawed.
Montesquieu Spirit of the Law  Geography and climate determine the form of government. Believed in separation of powers.
Valla, Lorenzo Donation of Constantine  His work exemplifies the application of critical scholarship to old and almost sacred writings, as well as the new secular spirit of the Renaissance.
Lenin Our Program  In his interpretation of Marxism he allowed for an elite party and a dual social revolution of the proletariat and the peasantry.
Loyola, Ignatius Spiritual Exercises  Catholic soldier for God. Set forth a system of disciplined prayer and asceticism to guide the members of society.
Newton, Isaac Principia of Mathematica  He created a single set of explanations for motion both on earth and in the skies. This synthesis prevailed until the 20th century.
Pascal, Blaise Pensees (Thoughts)  He believed that the gap between Christianity and natural science was great. Man was not the physical center of the world, but his mind had penetrated the world's laws. He said man was merely a reed, but a thinking reed.
Beccaria An Essay on Crimes and Punishment  He attacked both torture and capital punishment. He believed criminal justice should ensure speedy trial and sure punishment which was intended to deter further crime. Law was to secure the greatest good for the greatest number of human beings.
Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel  A satirical fantasy in which he considers the questions of philosophy, education and politics, expressing his faith in individuals and their ability to lead good lives.
Calvin, John Institutes of the Christian Religion  Bible is sole word of God. Believed in predestination. Helped create the protestant work ethic.
Marx and Engels The Communist manifesto  Economic conditions determined the nature of everything in society. Class conflict will lead to a bourgeoisie revolution.
Leo XIII Rerum Novarum  He condemned socialism and Marxism for its atheism and opposition to private property. Insisted on the moral obligation of employers to pay a living wage to workers.
Count of Saint-Simon The New Christianity  Government should be directed by scientists, not politicians, who understood the operation of modern industrial economy. Government should serve interests of the people
Smith, Adam Wealth of Nations  Competition acts as the invisible hand serving to regulate the marketplace