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Kant: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – December 6, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0192801999 ISBN-10: 0192801996 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised edition (December 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192801996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192801999
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Roger Scruton faced perhaps the most intractable task of all in giving an elementary account of Kant's philosophy... but he does it extremely elegantly and neatly."--Listener


About the Author


Roger Scruton is a well-known philosopher and the author of The Aesthetics of Music and a co-author of German Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche.

Customer Reviews

Roger Scruton does as good a job as it is reasonable to expect in this short introduction to Kant's work.
Massimo Pigliucci
If you read this book carefully, and then approach Kant's highly involved philosophy: you will see the difference.
Campbell Roark
These short introductions provide one with a pocketsize, portable introduction to a wide variety of topics.
Daniel R. Sanderman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Sanderman VINE VOICE on March 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
General Review of Book Series: I have to admit it: I am a fan of these little books. It's my dirty little secret. These short introductions provide one with a pocketsize, portable introduction to a wide variety of topics. With a light tone and a surface skim of the issues, these little guides provide one with the general overview one might expect in a small survey course. Naturally, there are downsides. Are these guides comprehensive? Heavens no! Do they take time to dig deeply into the issues? Not generally. But are they a good resource to use if you want to get your feet wet before you dive in? Yes. When used properly, these little guidebooks can allow what might start out as a casual curiosity to develop into a more in-depth research project. In fact, all of these introductions provide references and suggestions for further reading.

Roger Scruton's _A Very Short Introduction to Kant_ tackles a job that most writers would completely shy away from: to try and produce a short, readable summary of Kant's life, work, and influence. He has succeeded marvelously, carefully explaining difficult features of Kant's philosophy while noting the disagreements that occur in the scholarly literature. I found this text to be extremely helpful, not only for someone who would be approaching Kant for the first time, but also particularly for a student of Kant's philosophy that desires to have a short work to help synthesize everything.

After rehearsing a short, but interesting, biography of Kant's life and works, Scruton begins examining the ways in which Kant's thought can be seen as responding to the work of Leibniz and Descartes, exploring the possibilities of knowledge and the question of whether reality consists in subjective appearances or objective existence.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Campbell Roark on November 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
These books are kinda hit or miss. This one hits. Bullseye. Along with the chapter on Kant in Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy," this is most thorough-but-brief examination of Kant's Philosophy. I can't even fathom how he did it. Scruton takes care to be as clear as possible when deciphering Kant's original but highly technical idiolect. If you read this book carefully, and then approach Kant's highly involved philosophy: you will see the difference. But. You have to be in for the haul. You may need to reread passages. Kant's works, even when condensed like this, are still foreboding and require much focus and concentration. But he is worth it. Modern thought springs much from Kant's ideas: his influence, not only on 19th Century Philosophy, German Romanticism, and Religious philosophy is ineluctable. I was hooked from the second chapter, wherein Scruton places Kant in his context and illustrates the evolution of his thought. Leibniz's and Hume's influence is dealt with in a fantastic way- a consideration of both thinkers is necessary for a greater understanding.

I can't say enough good things. If anyone ever told me that a book of 135 pages of small print with good illustrations could deal effectively with a thinker of this magnitude and verbosity I'd laugh. And I'd have to eat that laughter. I'll say this, it makes Kant pleasurable. A pleasure to read and a greater pleasure to understand. I'd recommend this to anyone with any degree of interest in kant. As Scruton says in his preface, "Kant hope to draw the limits of human understanding; he found himself compelled to transcend them." Scruton's V.S.I. is an excellent testament to that vision.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By meadowreader on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
There is no question that Scruton knows his Kant, and this book is a 5-star synopsis of Kant's major ideas, including some of the background and controversies surrounding them.

That said, I don't think it will succeed as a first introduction to Kant for most people. If you already know this material, or have known it sometime in the past and want to brush up, then this is the perfect book for you. If you are looking to learn about Kant's ideas for the first time, you are likely to find this book too compressed and telegraphic. I don't doubt that Scruton made a great effort, but it just may not be possible to introduce Kant in this number of pages. For a true introduction, I'd recommend Sebastian Gardner's guidebook in the Routledge series.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Massimo Pigliucci on August 16, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Immanuel Kant is arguably one of the most influential, and yet most difficult to read, philosophers of all time. Roger Scruton does as good a job as it is reasonable to expect in this short introduction to Kant's work. The reader is given a bit of background to Kant's philosophy, and then is introduced to the transcendental deduction, the logic of illusion, the categorical imperative, as well as Kant's ideas on aesthetic and law. The booklet concludes with a few comments on the meaning and impact of Kant's "transcendental" philosophy. I must say that the section that gripped (yes, that is the right word!) me the most is chapter 7, "Enlightenment and Law," where Scruton comments on the role Kant had in developing modern concepts such as human rights and even the idea of a league of nations. Kant was an anti-utopian, in the sense that he did not believe that an ideal political system could actually be realized in practice, and indeed despised the violence of the then recent French revolution. (He would certainly not have approved of Bush's war to bring democracy to other countries.) But he was a man of the Enlightenment in the sense that he thought we still ought to strive toward such ideals, to keep them in mind as a guide to our behavior and our discussions about what is right and just. It makes for much food for thought even in modern times.
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