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Modern French Philosophy Paperback – January 1, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0521296724 ISBN-10: 0521296722

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521296722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521296724
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

An introduction to modern French philosophy (1933 to the present) which expresses the main movements and figures in their political and cultural contexts.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Nicholas III on April 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
In Descombes' slim volume, he gives an excellent introduction to modern French philosophy, presenting the leading figures and primary topics taken up by contemporary French philosophers. Despite the brevity, however, the text is by no means a "Cliff's Notes" covering modern French philosophy. The title is somewhat misleading in that Descombes limits his discussion to 20th-century French thinkers, and he restricts the topics he examines to dialectics and the philosophical issues surrounding the notion of being.

He begins with a discussion of Alexandre Kojeve's introduction of Hegel's philosophy of dialectics to a French audience, and he then moves on to a discussion of phenomenology represented by Merleau-Ponty and then he discusses structuralism. These three subjects take up over half of Descombes' text. In the remainder he covers at a breakneck pace Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Klossowski and Lyotard, with brief mentions of other philosophers along the way. Obviously a narrow focus was necessary or we would be dealing with a multi-volume work.

What makes Descombes' text so remarkable is how well he explains such difficult subjects as phenomenology and structuralism in such a short space. Entire volumes have been written on both of these topics alone. He even manages to make sense of Derrida's writings, something I did not believe possible.

The book has some curious omissions. Lacan and Levi-Strauss without question belong in any survey of 20th-century French philosophy, and Descombes' discussions of these major figures is disappointingly scanty.
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