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Karl Jaspers: A Biography--Navigations in Truth Hardcover – May 10, 2004

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Karl Jaspers: A Biography--Navigations in Truth + Way to Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy, Second Edition (Yale Nota Bene S)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This insightful biography is the first to draw on the full range of Jaspers’ diaries and correspondence, and it illuminates not only the German philosopher’s life and relationships but also the ideas he developed in his works. The book describes how Jaspers’ Jewish wife, his relationships with celebrated colleagues, and his unshakeable sense of ethics all influenced his thinking and philosophy.-->

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Also available from YUP: Way to Wisom: An Introduction to Philosophy.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (May 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300102429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300102420
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #961,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By rs on November 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In general, I do not like to post negative reviews to the Amazon Web site. For Suzanne Kirkbright's work, I am making an exception. This is a very poorly written and narrated biography. Very briefly, I would like to itemize its most obvious flaws,

1. Writing. Ms Kirkbright writes in an English that is all but incomprehensible. The book reads like an inept translation. Here are the first two sentences of the book:

"In Oldenburg, where Karl Jaspers was born on 23 February 1883, the changing attitudes that shape the fabric of civilized society were all but sheltered from view. (footnote 1) During these years of Bismark's Germany, political life was in flux, for modernizing the regions in a federal, secular and unified nation appeared to exacerbate disagreement among political parties which--apart from the higher authority of Emperor Willhelm I--could have been scrutinizing Bismarck's policies of social and cultural integration. (footnote 2)"

Throughtout her book, Ms Kirkbright has trouble with standard English idioms and the use of prepositions. One has to wonder how this prose slipped passed the editorial staff at YUP.

2. Historical. Ms Kirkbright's rendering of the historical and cultural background of Jasper's place and time is substandard.

3. Narrative. This biography achieves no smooth narrative but skips around and does not build any kind of systematic portrait of anything--not the family, not Karl, not the political events.

4. Ideas. Mr Kirkbright seems to have little understanding of the ideas that circulate in Jaspers work. She seems to be culling them from secondary sources rather than from her own reading and understanding.

5. Research.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FrizzText on August 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Already as a child, German philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) suffered under bronchiktasis and an accompanying heart insufficiency, which was classified as incurable and life-shortening. the fear to die early pushed him to live concentrated and not to waste any time. Being exhausted very soon, throughout his life he was forced to work lying horizontal on a divan. His daily creative working periods (of reading and writing) had been very short, so he was obliged to budget his targets carefully. "A man will be, what he will be, via the things, he has chosen for his own affair..." was the way, he programmed himself. "The minimum of being self-determinate is associated with the joy to work. without that, everyone will get paralyzed. Therefore to save the joy of working is the main problem in the technical world. Assigned work mostly is a work, which separates being a human and being a worker. But the duties of a physician, teacher, minister etc. cannot not be technically rationalized, because they depend on vital existence ..." Jaspers noted in his tiny but important book "The Mental Situation Of Our Age". Beginning as psychiatrist (among other things with the fundamental work "PSYCHOLOGY of the WORLD VIEWS") he extended his horizon of views to a stable existence-philosophical theory, which at first united him with the academic colleague Martin Heidegger, then however, ethical standardizes taking seriously, had to lead him away from this Nazi-collaborator. Jaspers wrote after the end of WWII to the American Military Government in Germany: "Heidegger's kind of thinking appears to me unfreely, dictatorial, without any sense for communication. Nowadays it would (practiced at universities) have a fatal effect ...". Added to the lifelong illness of Jaspers was the threat by the Third Reich.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Spengler on February 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a badly written book. While the author provides some useful information on Jaspers's life, the writing is tedious, indeed almost incomprehensible in some places. Jaspers is a philosopher well worth reading, but his own style tended to be opaque. The author of this volume does little to help us understand him. Perhaps the author lacks confidence in her own command of English or German. At the end of the book she appends a number of Jaspers's letters in German with her own English translations, noting that she is unsure of the adequacy of her own translations.
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Karl Jaspers: A Biography--Navigations in Truth
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