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World Philosophies Hardcover – August 15, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415411882 ISBN-10: 0415411882 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Smart (The World's Religions, LJ 11/1/98) presents a narrative history arranged geographically. After an introductory outline chapter, the concepts that arose on the ancient subcontinent of India, in Chinese antiquity, and so on, are developed culture by culture and epoch by epoch. Smart weaves an explanation of religious developments among Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and Christians into nearly as thorough a tapestry as his presentation of secular thought. This seems wholly appropriate, given how religious ideas traditionally suffuse philosophical ones, but, in many cases, the author's interest in religious nuance downplays the distinction between religion and philosophy. Most troubling in this large and academic text is the complete lack of quotation and, too often, the absence of particular vocabulary developed by the philosophers and movements under discussion. The exhaustive chapter-by-chapter bibliographies range widely to include reference works, primary sources, and popular works. For academic collections.?Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

'As a work of reference, this will be invaluable.  Smart's analysis of such crucial thinkers as Buddha, Confucius, Descartes and Derrida is imprecccable.'


Karen Armstrong, The Times


'In a work of amazing breadth and cogency, the acknowledged master of the study of world civilization leads us through the philosophies that have guided some corners of humanity and today lay claim to a hearing everywhere...This is a masterpiece of lucid description, analusis and interpretation.'


Jacob Neusner


'Imagine... all the philosophies of the world in a single book...it can stimulate our interest in aspects of philosohy which may be new to us, motivating us to be more open-minded...and to rethink our own worldviews.'


The Philosopher's Magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (August 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415411882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415411882
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,523,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. T. Ong on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Unlike so many meretricious books which purport to be about philosophy but are actually limited to Western philosophy, Smart's book really takes on the philosophical traditions of well nigh the entire human race. It is incredible how any single scholar's mind could be so encyclopedic. From antiquity down to the present day, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Islamic and even African philosophy are covered side by side with Western thought (which is subdivided into its Greek/Roman, European and North American camps), with no partiality being shown towards any tradition. Even 20th-century developments of the non-Western traditions are discussed. Due to the vast scope of this 454-page book, though, individual philosophers are necessarily and somewhat regrettably given only brief treatment (about one-and-a-half pages per thinker on average), the focus being on the larger picture of the development of ideas and of cultures. Still, it would probably be too much to ask for more from a single author, besides which as a compensation hardly a single important philosopher from any tradition has been left out (except Asanga and Vasubandhu from the Buddhist tradition) -- even the less well-known thinkers such as Feuerbach, Merleau-Ponty and Nishida Kitaro are included. (If only two or more authors could co-author this book, so that more could be written about each thinker.) Smart is always fair and sympathetic towards the different traditions as well: you don't find his language changing from cold, dry academic analysis when discussing, say, Africa, to glowing adulation and praise when looking at, say, the ancient Greeks (who else). And if the book appears to have strong religious leanings, hey, what do you expect, a lot of philosophy was and still is tied in to religious concerns.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Philosopher on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I originally dismissed this book because of what the last reviewer had mentioned-- specifically that the author "mentions God twenty times per page." However, after examining this book at the local bookshop, I found this to be completely false. Smart gives a very sharp, though concise, rendering of the key concepts, ideas, and history of the world's rich philosophical traditions. In addition to Asian philosophies and Western philosophies, African and Latin American are also considered. While this book does suffer from lack of depth, it provides a rare source for the basic framework of most philosophical systems-- ancient, classical, and contemporary.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sreenivas K on March 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Philosophy" has suffered from a Western-only myopia and this delightful read is impressive for its breadth. Under one cover the quintessence of every significant philosophical development, both "Western" and "Eastern" is presented. A must read for further study. The paperback ... is very good value.
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you're expecting a book about world philosophies, then don't buy this book. I have never written a review, but felt I had to in order to prevent someone from making the same mistake I did.
Instead of discussing world philosphies, the author relates anything he can think of to "God". Each page mentions "God" about twenty times. In doing so, there is no attempt to crystallize the key tenets of any philosopy or philosopher.
It's also terribly written. The book reads like a complete brain dump - did anyone edit this? It's really impossible to discern what on earth the author was trying to say. This is not an educational book, by any stretch of the imagination.
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