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The European Philosophers from Descartes to Nietzsche (Modern Library of the World's Best Books) Hardcover – September 5, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library of the World's Best Books
  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (September 5, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679600248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679600244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,252,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Between the earliest and the latest of the works included here, we have two hundred and fifty years of vigorous and adventurous philosophizing," Monroe Beardsley writes in his introduction to this collection.  "If the modern period can be only vaguely or arbitrarily bounded, it can at least be studied, and we can ask whether any dominant themes, overall patterns of movement, or notable achievements can be found within it.  This question is one that is best asked by the reader after he has read, or read around in, these works."  Selections have been made from the writings of twelve European philosophers.  These include:
Descartes        Discourse on Method

Pascal                Thoughts

Spinoza        "The Nature of Evil"

Leibniz        "The Relation Between Soul and Body"

Rousseau        The Social Contract

Kant                Critique of Pure Reason

Fichte                The Vocation of Man

Hegel                Introduction to the Philosophy of History

Schopenhauer        The World as Will and Idea

Comte                A General View of Positivism

Mach                The Analysis of Sensations and the Relation of the Physical to the Psychical

Nietzsche        Beyond Good and Evil

From the Back Cover

"Today, then, as I have suitably freed my mind from all cares, and have secured for myself an assured leisure in peaceful solitude, I shall at last apply myself earnestly and freely to the general overthrow of all my former opinions."

--Rene Descartes

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Chosroes III on January 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This generous compilation of major works from the principle players in modern European (non-British) philosophy remains the one-volume sourcebook for every undergrad who has to write a paper and, more substantially, everyone who wants a real nose-to-the-grindstone encounter with the major philosophers. Spinoza, Kant, Rousseau, and Nietzsche are represented by substantial, and judicious, abridgments of major works (the "Ethics", "Critique of Pure Reason", "Social Contract", and "Beyond Good and Evil" respectively), while Descartes' entire "Meditations", the famous "Discourse on Metaphysics" and "Monadology" of Leibnitz, and the Introduction to "The Philosophy of History" of Hegel (which essentially comprises a book unto itself) are complete. Schopenhauer's "The World as Will and Idea" is also given about eighty pages, and the seldom-seen Fichte leaves a powerful mark with the Third Part of the "Vocation of Man". Fleeting but powerful selections from Pascal provide the dissent from the Age of Reason. Comte and Mach are, at least by my prejudices, footnotes today (their offerings, particularly the latter's, remain mostly unthumbed), but appendices of brief selections from Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche offer further elucidations of some of their key concepts and arguments (this volume makes for a particularly good introduction to Descartes and Kant). The brief editorial prefaces are also noteworthy both for their keen appreciations of each philosopher's contributions (the tone is always sober but generous-- sober indeed largely because of the editors' awareness of just how much we owe to these thinkers) and for very full catalogs of available editions of the philosophers's works in English and of scholarly examinations of their lives and work.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mike McGlothlin on June 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This volume has two wonderful aspects, it contains the primary philosophical thought of the most important modern European philosophers (excepting the British Empiricists, such as Locke, Berkeley and the incomparable David Hume), and it is published by the Modern Library. This book is hardback, well binded and printed on good paper that stands up to underlining and margin scribbling. For a real hoot, read Kant's serious, calculated, sober and nearly incomprehensible philosophy, and then read Nietzsche with all his ! 's at the end of virtually every sentence. Wonderful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
The volume 'The European Philosophers: from Descartes to Nietzsche', edited by Monroe C. Beardsley, together with its companion volume from the Modern Library, 'The English Philosophers: from Bacon to Mill', edited by Edwin A. Burtt, provides a good basic collection of the major philosophical writings of the post-Renaissance to the immediate pre-Modern period -- in essence, that period that many people think of as being 'our cultural history' in intellectual terms.
The text on the European Philosophers includes many of the major philosophers from the late sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. Each of the philosophers is introduced with a brief one-to-two page biography, but by and large the editor allows the philosophers' own writings to speak for themselves. Each biographical section ends with a supplemental/suggested reading section that is worthwhile if now a bit out of date. Where possible, Beardsley has opted to include whole texts, or at least major portions of them, and the selections are much more generous than the typical survey would be. The large sections of majors works are supplemented by briefer passages that help clarify key points along the way. The translations are standard and accessible.
This survey shows the breadth of thinking that concerned the European philosophers - metaphysics and epistemology are high on the list of important topics throughout the period, as is philosophical methodology (from Descartes beginnings to Liebniz to Nietzsche, many of the Europeans seemed to be concerned to 'reinvent' philosophy in major ways). Ethics and politics take more of a back seat in many respects, particularly when compared to the English philosophers over the same period, but there are major contributions to this field, particularly near the
end.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on November 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful resource for aquiring a much more profound idea of the most renkowned thinkers of the modern era. The contents of this book includes twelve great thinkers, within the span of two-hundred and fifty years, and their ideals of the world around them.
The author has selected these individuals due to the diversity of their philisophical world-views. Just look at the likes of Rene` Descartes in comparison with the eccentricity of Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche. One of course, would see that these two are extreme contraries, thus engendering an induction of pure thought from these contrary opinions, which in turn you as the reader may attain new insights resulting in a possible thesis or anti-thesis of your own. Then their are those who share simalar ideas such as Kant, Hegel, and Descsartes. They all hold that innate thought is to be venerated as the sole good of the world. Whereas an Empericist or Materialist would rather adhere to the product of nature to find the meaning of this chaotic earth. Any way you look at it all of their views are to be reverred and worthy of thought.
With the absence of a few great philosophers of that period, I was left just a little dissapointed, but the intuitiveness and profoundity of this work has left me invigorated. So if you would like to get to know these great thinkers all little more in this miraculous compilement of thought, pick up a copy today.
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