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Interpreting America: Russian and Soviet Studies of the History of American Thought Hardcover – October 31, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a groundbreaking work of exceptionally high quality.
--Peter H. Hare, SUNY Buffalo

About the Author

John Ryder is professor of philosophy and dean of arts and sciences at SUNY-Cortland.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Vanderbilt Library of American Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press; 1 Ed edition (October 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826513344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826513342
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,413,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Dumain on August 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ryder's superb book has not yet received the attention it is due. This book is the logical successor to Evert van der Zweerde's Soviet Historiography of Philosophy: Istoriko-filosofskaja Nauka. In a review of the latter book, Ryder challenged the author's claim that the survey of Soviet philosophy is now completed. While Soviet philosophy has been unjustly neglected by Western scholars except in an adversarial sense, there remain further studies of Soviet accomplishments to be done: possible areas include Soviet studies of phenomenology, philosophy of science, analytical philosophy, and Asian philosophy. Ryder confirms that history of philosophy was the one area that escaped the general Stalinist stagnation and where the best of Soviet philosophy could be found. Ryder's book fills in yet another gap in Western studies with this survey of Soviet work on American thought.

I believe that Ryder's book is of wide application for those interested in American thought and not just Soviet thought. As bad as Soviet Marxism was in so many ways, Soviet philosophers were allowed to do serious work in history of philosophy, with increasing objectivity after the 1950s, and their materialistic perspective gave them insight, to the extent that they were not straightjacketed by narrow dogmatism and rigid propagandism. Marxists in the West have not necessarily covered all areas of investigation, let alone with thoroughness and professionalism, in spite of greater prevailing freedoms. Secondly, a survey such as this could help provide a perspective on American thought and perhaps even serve as an introduction of sorts.
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