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Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey Paperback – October 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140249079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140249071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This extensive survey of topics in modern philosophy as taught in English-speaking universities consists of two parts, about 500 and 100 pages, respectively. The former is the text that presents the ideas, theses, and arguments themselves; and the latter is a study guide that elucidates details, suggests topics for discussion, and names readings that expand the main text. The book is clearly written and well proportioned. By choosing sensibly which complexities to ignore, Scruton (The Classical Vernacular, St. Martin's, 1995) explains material no more technically and at no greater length than is necessary for nonprofessional readers to get the hang of it. Unfortunately, his penchant for making invidious remarks occasionally mars his exposition, but readers who inure themselves to this habit will cease to be distracted. Recommended for large public libraries and for academic philosophy collections.
Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Roger Scruton is one of the most widely respected philosophers of our time, and this book is considered by many to be the best philosophical primer since Bertrand Russell?s The Problems of Philosophy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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It is highly recommended for the individual who is seeking a thought-provoking survey of philosophy.
Sabian
I disagree with Scruton a good amount of the time, and it makes not one iota of difference: this is a little masterpiece.
James Versluys
Recently, however, I read this book and once again discovered the pleasure of reading and doing philosophy.
Richard L. King

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By ctdreyer on May 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I purchased Scruton's survey as an first-year undergraduate student who was eager to learn just about everything there is to learn about philosophy, and it proved very useful to me throughout my undergraduate career. And it's heartening to flip back through this book and see that I've actually learned a good deal in time I've spent studying philosophy. Before long I may know enough to write a book of this sort myself--not that I have the patience or talent for exposition that would be required to do so.

The aim of this book is to provide a synoptic overview of the concerns and central arguments of philosophy from the seventeenth century to the present. It covers, at least briefly, just about everything that modern philosophers talk about, it displays broad historical erudition, it provides the reader with a sense of how the concerns of contemporary philosophers connect to the history of modern philosophers, and its extensive reading guide gives the reader some helpful suggestions about where to go in the literature for further work on the topics discussed here. It is, moreover, quite good at introducing the basic issues and positions, both of contemporary philosophers and their early modern counterparts, in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. And, although this isn't intended as a work of history, Scruton manages to present most of the major ideas of the most significant figures in modern philosophy (e.g. Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, et al.).
Scruton's subject matter here is broad, to say the least. He discusses just about every subject about which philosophers have had anything to say in the last four hundred years.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By James Versluys on July 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
There is too much to recommend Scruton to the beginner, so I won't attempt to summarize them. I will say that this book is the best survey I've ever read.
The complaints of complexity are legion in philosophy- it's not a subject for the average man by its very nature. Scruton does as well as any man living or dead in making philosophy understandable to the novice. The reviewers below simply do not understand that this comes with the territory by definition: philosophy is exegesis at the limits of the human grasp. I previously thought there was no way to make it as accessible as this without sacrifising too much: Scruton proved me wrong. You get farther with less hard work under Scruton than any philosopher since Nietzsche. And I know of no one who can make Kant instantly intelligable.
I disagree with Scruton a good amount of the time, and it makes not one iota of difference: this is a little masterpiece. Even the scattered criticism is wrong. Scruton has taken on left philosophers head on more than once (he has a book on the subject). For the most part, he does an excellent job with the quick hack and slash job he does here. The line about anyone asking you to believe that nothing is true is asking you not to believe them is a little rhetorical gem. I don't think it's hard to dismiss the Sausser and Derrida clique outright and then get on to the job of doing philosophy. Maybe that is my fault for not being smart enough- I don't think being able to spot the inconsistancy of an argument from the first sentence means that I have to continue debating the issue.
Either way, the hardest and most worthwhile philsophers extant get the long shrift here, which is precisely how any book purporting to be a survey should work. This book is for everyone: for the beginner looking to uderstand and for the veteran who likes clear and cogent argument. Buy this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on December 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This books leaves me with mixed emotions. On the positive side, it's the only book I know of its kind, covering almost every topic of modern philosophy. And, for the most part, it is highly accessible and remarkably clear (philosophy of language can be opaque, but that's inherent in the field). On the con side, not enough attention is paid to ethics and politics (Scruton himself is somewhat of a conservative/communitarian), and the topic of aesthetics could have been more informative. Another con is that Scruton tells the reader in advance that his own opinion will seep into the discussion, but that he'll designate it as such. Well, yes, his opinion does creep in, but it's rarely distinguished as his own. Yet, for all these quibbles, I cannot imagine a better introduction to the discipline of philosophy as it is practiced in Anglo-American circles - but without the arcane and often obtuse language. It is remarkably broad in scope, accurate in depiction, clearly mapped, and fairly thorough for an overview. If one wants an introduction into how Angophone philosophy is practiced, I cannot recommend a better book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jackson on June 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Roger Scruton provides an excellent introduction and survey (500 pages plus notes). The best part of the book is that it is organized topically; so, rather than a series of short biographical studies, you get an overview of an issue. For example, there is an excellent discussion of what Frege, Russell, Meinong & Strawson were trying to accomplish.
Scruton is also funny: "[Ayer's] Language, Truth and Logic . . . should be read if possible, provided it is read quickly and innatentively. The details of the argument are preposterous . . . ."
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