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On Enlightenment

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0765801364
ISBN-10: 0765801361
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Editorial Reviews


"Never just an academic, Stove was also a prominent, often crotchety, public intellectual of a conservative and, all too often, reactionary bent, many of whose views were extremist on any account, and his targets were many. ... For Stove the important question about a belief is not whether it is extreme or mainstream, but whether it is true, or probable, or has sound evidentiary and/or rational credentials. In this he was surely right."

—D. D. Todd, Philosophy in Review

About the Author

David Stove (1927-1994) taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. He is the author of numerous books, including The Rationality of Induction and Against the Idols of the Age.

Andrew Irvine is professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Socrates on Trial and a textbook, titled Argument.

Roger Kimball is co-editor and publisher of The New Criterion, president and publisher of Encounter Books, and an art critic for the London Spectator and National Review.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (November 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765801361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765801364
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 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: #2,325,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Do you know anyone who has any complaint about the Enlightenment?

It's a great pleasure to introduce you to David Stove, one of the best thinkers and writers of the 20th century. Stove is incredibly good at tracing underground thoughts, as he shows in his essay, "The Diabolical Place: A Secret of the Enlightenment." What was that "diabolical place?" Well, it was nothing more than contraception --- birth control, something which is hardly shocking in modern times. But back in the 19th century, it was unmentionable.

The fascinating thing is that birth control suddenly became mentionable when another idea swept the world, the very fashionable idea of eugenics. Well, eugenics is unfashionable now, but it was the cat's pajamas in the very early twentieth century, before Hitler and his gang made it almost unmentionable.

I enjoyed every essay in this book, and learned a great deal from it. Sometimes Stove's "diabolical" wit left me breathless; as one example, he used the tired phrase "the wretched of the earth" and then explained that it referred to "white, middle-class women in the developed world." This is just part of his explanation of feminism as a disease of the rich and molly-coddled, which makes women feel even more put-upon even as they thoughtlessly trash the male sex.

Highly recommended reading, especially for wannabe curmudgeons! :-)
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