"Stove was undoubtedly the most stylish and witty writer of all philosphers of the last one hundred years, if not of all time. When it comes to attacking the absurdities of twentieth century intellectual movements no one else came close, and certainly no one else was as funny. The greatest iconoclast of the twentieth century, we can now see in retrospect, was not any of the European avant-garde, most of whom in fact, epitomized the spirit of the century perfectly, but this no nonsense Australian. His greatest contributions were in the philosophy of science, in particular in his defense of inductive reasoning, and in his attack on the sort of irrationalism manifested by his four horsemen, Popper, Kuhn, Lalatos, and Feyerabend."
—The Review of Metaphysics
"A self-proclaimed neo-positivist-and a brilliant, truculent, cantankerous essayist-Stove attacks everything from contemporary philosophy of science and evolutionary theory to religious belief and intellectual equality of women."
—The Weekly Standard
"The greatest philosopher of the twentieth century may not have been Wittgenstein, or Russell, or Quine (and he certainly wasn’t Heidegger), but he may have been a somewhat obscure and conservative Australian named David Stove (1927-94). If he wasn’t the greatest philosopher of the century, Stove was certainly the funniest and most dazzling defender of common sense to be numbered among the ranks of last century’s thinkers, better even—by far—than G. E. Moore and J. L. Austin. . . . What separates Stove from your average angry-eyed reactionary is the startling brilliant way that he argues, combining plain horse sense with the most nimble and skillful philosophical reasoning this side of Hume, along with a breathtaking wit."
"An early, fearless, sometimes reckless combatant in the science and culture wars, Stove fought wittily and two-fistedly on the side of empirical realism."
"The incisiveness of [Stove's] logic presses toward the something new and adventuresome that has been obscured by the intellectual idols of the age."
—The New Criterion
"David Stove is thoughtful, trenchant, sharp and wonderfully disrespectful of the established pieties of our time."
—Harvey C. Mansfield, Harvard University
"Stove is an independent and honest philosopher who, like Voltaire and Nietsche, has the wit to make us laugh as we learn."
—John Silber, Boston University
From the Back Cover
A philosopher whose wit and satirical genius was directed against the follies and absurdities to be found in philosophers--and others. --David Armstrong, emeritus professor of philosophy, University of Sydney
In a culture of iconoclastic posturing, David Stove is the true iconoclast. He is outrageously wrong about some things, but putting up with that is a price worth paying for his formidable, and frequently funny, contributions to--in the words of the great Dr. Johnson--clearing the mind of cant. --Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things
David Stove took no intellectual prisoners. A deadly serious (and hilariously funny) enemy of intellectual cant and the higher pretensions, he wrote to kill. In the process he demonstrated what had come to seem questionable: that professional philosophers can still make a vital contribution to public debate. Many thanks to Roger Kimball for making these brilliant essays available in America. --Owen Harries, editor, The National Interest
David Stove was a man before his time, providing answers to a number of mounting problems in politics and academic life whose eventual, disastrous dimensions were foreseen by very few others when he wrote. He long had a small circle of admirers who appreciated not only his intellectual brilliance and the polish of his unadorned prose, but how funny he invariably was. Since his death in 1994, the circle of insiders has widened to include many people who had not read him when he was alive but who, on discovering him, have asked almost incredulously: why didn't I know of his work before? This book shows just how much, until now, they have all missed. --Keith Windschuttle, author of The Killing of History
As Francis Bacon alerted us to the misleading habits of mind--idols of Tribe, Cave, Marketplace and Theater--that deprive us of knowledge, David Stove exposes the irrationalities of fashionable ideologies that deliver us over to relativism, skepticism and cynicism. Roger Kimball offers us, with an introductory overview, an astute collection of essays by Stove, brilliantly exposing current ideologies under the Baconian title Against the Idols of the Age. Stove's carefully reasoned arguments expose the intellectual fraudulence and cant that have blinded us to the attainability of knowledge. He makes the case not only that it is intellectually respectable to seek the truth, but that it is contemptible to be bullied by bad arguments and paradigms of the politically and intellectually "correct" into abandoning the search. Stove is an independent and honest philosopher who, like Voltaire and Nietzsche, has the wit to make us laugh as we learn. --John Silber, chancellor Boston University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.