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The Embodiment of Reason: Kant on Spirit, Generation, and Community 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226752174
ISBN-10: 0226752178
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Meld Shell is a professor in the department of political scence at Boston College. She is the author of several books on Kant's philosophy and also writes on Rousseau, German Idealism, and selected areas of public policy. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 492 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (June 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226752178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226752174
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,626,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Susan Meld Shell's wide-ranging study aims to overturn the venerable claim that the central event in the development of Kant's critical philosophy was his sudden awaken-ing from dogmatic metaphysical slumbers. Shell's purpose is, as she says on p.21, to `expose the consistency of Kant's lifelong enterprise. She produces a lively and engaging defense of an unpopular claim: Kant's famous description of Hume's influence provides a grossly inaccurate characterization of the relation between his critical and pre-critical writings.

There is much in Shell's study that succeeds. She argues persuasively that the notions of community and generation have a central place throughout Kant's career. Shell also highlights the significance of a topic that most commentators have over-looked: Kant's lifelong philosophical interest in the human body.

Unfortunately, Shell provides a detailed defense of only a few of her most central claims. It would be unreasonable to expect that a book which covers so much novel ground also contain a de-tailed defense of each controversial claim, but specialists may find many of the omissions vexing. Nonetheless, the remarkable strength and scope of Shell's vision of the consistency of Kant's lifework makes this reader consider The Embodiment of Reason to a rousing success; specialists and non-specialists alike will find their understanding of Kant challenged by literally scores of novel arguments and imaginative exegetical suggestions.

The lack of comprehensive detail makes The Embodiment of Reason accessible to scholars who are not specialists in Kant; the sheer breadth and depth of her vision of Kant's life and work makes it all the more interesting to those who are
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Format: Paperback
The life of Kant is too little considered in modern thought, indeed in the history of science. If science boasts that it has left him, and philosophy, behind, it is because science has derailed. We divide science from 'everything else' now, as philosophy seems to suffer the fate of marginalization, and scientism rules the waves, quite metaphysically. It might help to see the early Kant and the later Newton in one chord. There, and this account is rich in detail, we see the descant of Kant, others to come,reflecting on the 'orbit of science' and its latent crystallization of a basic error. Kant's ethical thought seems strange to many now, but its context shows the soundness of the gesture as the response to the time, a model to match Newton's. This semi-biographical philosophic history wonderfully blocks out the major stages, from the first attempt at a universal history, to the 'dreams of a spirit seer',and the discovery of Rousseau, to the onset of the critical system. Like the 'throw and catch'interrupt in a piece of software, the gesture emerges almost at once in the wake of Newton and chases the rapidly escaping sciences on their way to Plato's Cave For All. It is like a prophecy of what the first 'evolutionist' will show the 'last evolutionist', and the text contains a fascinating discussion on Kant's views of esthetics and the organism. Darwinists will catch up to him sooner or later.
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