Автор: Paul Strathern, Robert Whitfield (Read by)
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In Descartes in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Descartes's life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Descartes's work; a brief list of suggested reading for those who wish to push further; and chronologies that place Descartes within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.
Strathern, a graduate of Dublin's Trinity College, has lectured in philosophy and mathematics and written history, travel literature, and fiction. His attempt to provide the reader with accessible guidance to the ideas of a half dozen great names in the canon of Western philosophy fails on all counts except readability. The time given in the title for each presentation is about three times that even the least-informed reader might require, for these books are nothing but outlines. Half of each volume highlights the more peculiar details of the individual philosopher's personal life, with passing remarks about one or two substantive ideas from his work. The remaining pages include surprisingly brief quotations from the works (an epigraphic style suitable to presenting a sample of Nietzsche's writing but hardly appropriate to Kant's), chronologies (including one five-page "Philosophical Dates" that is repeated in each tiny volume), and a suggestion of four or five books for further reading. The intended audience for this series is unclear as there is too little substance to provide either the sort of introduction offered by such competing works as the Writers and Readers's illustrated series "For Beginners" (e.g., Robert Cavalier's Plato for Beginners, 1990) or critical understanding of difficult concepts as Frederick Copleston and William Jones have achieved in their histories of Western thought (e.g., Copleston's A History of Philosophy, 1985). Strathern's publisher promises more than a dozen future volumes in this series but, given the severe limitations of the first six under review here, it is not possible to recommend that we look forward to them.Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.
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15 апреля 2009 | Автор: Admin | Рубрика: English литература » Нехудожественная литература на английском языке | Комментариев: 0
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