Just as a man’s actions are preceded and determined by some form of idea in his
mind, so a society’s existential conditions are preceded and determined by the
ascendancy of a certain philosophy among those whose job is to deal with ideas.
The events of any given period of history are the result of the thinking of the
preceding period. The nineteenth century—with its political freedom, science,
industry, business, trade, all the necessary conditions of material
progress—was the result and the last achievement of the intellectual power
released by the Renaissance. The men engaged in those activities were still
riding on the remnants of an Aristotelian influence in philosophy, particularly
on an Aristotelian epistemology (more implicitly than explicitly).