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The Book of Dead Philosophers Kindle Edition
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
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—The Financial Times
“Rigorous, profound and frequently hilarious. . . . Critchley is an engaging, deadpan guide to the metaphysical necropolis. . . . At a time when much popular philosophy is either frivolous, dull or complacent, his is a bracingly serious and properly comic presence.”
—The Daily Telegraph (UK)
- ASIN : B001NLL80G
- Publisher : Vintage; Original edition (February 6, 2009)
- Publication date : February 6, 2009
- Language: : English
- File size : 3944 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 306 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #575,560 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This academic treatment of the subject covers an enormous amount of material dealing with more than 190 dead philosophers throughout history. The book explores philosophers from the pre-Socratic, physiologists, sages, and Sophists, Platonists, Aristotelians, skeptics, Epicureans, classical Chinese philosophers, Romans, Christian saints, Islamic and Judaic philosophers, Twentieth Century philosophers and numerous other historical thinkers.
Even though this is a well-researched and professionally written volume I did find some of the material tedious at times; nevertheless, I recommend this book to anyone who has a passion for learning about the great and not so great philosophers throughout history and their view of death and dying.
Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: The Samurai Heart: A poetic tribute to warriors).
After the well-written and thought-provoking introduction revolving around the role of death -- and thoughts of death -- in philosophy and life, the remainder of the book can feel jarring. In some cases, the philosopher's life and work -- and even their death -- is disposed of in only one or two witty sentence. In others, there is a lot about their deaths, but Critchley doesn't always deliver on his promise to explain how the way in which his subjects met those deaths ties into either their personal philosophies or into a philosophy of death. Sometimes, that just isn't relevant, it seems. The best moments in the book -- such as the discussion of the atheist, David Hume, meeting his end contentedly -- stand out simply because they are relatively rare. In a few cases, Critchley has to admit he doesn't even know how his subject died -- in which case, why is that philosopher included? In a handful of cases, he exaggerates the story behind the philosopher's death, only for the reader to discover that they have been misled. For instance, Simone Weil, he claims in the introduction, starved herself to death in sympathy with her beleagured countrymen in France. In fact, the exiled philosopher limited her caloric intake during the early years of World War II in exile from her homeland to what was available to French citizens under the Nazi regime. She didn't deliberately starve herself to death; she weakened her health so that she was unable to fight off the illness that killed her.
So why, then, do I give this 3.5 stars? Simply because it's a witty romp through a topic that is relatively rarely discussed except in hushed tones and with trite references to Kubler-Ross (who, yes, makes a very brief appearance here, as well). It's also the kind of book that may provoke interest in the philosophers being discussed by readers who would otherwise never pick up a more weighty tome on, say, Hume or Spinoza. The premise is also solid and the author's grasp of his subject is more solid than his delivery sometimes implies. It's also refreshing to see a philosopher write something so accessible.
That said, this is not a book likely to appeal to anyone who heads straight for the philosophy section whenever they enter a bookstore. There's little or no new thinking on the topic of mortality, and serious-minded philosophy students, already be familiar with much of the contents, are less likely to find Critchley's whimsical approach to his subject either amusing or intriguing. For readers with a passing interest in philosophy, it's worth a look, but you probably will want to pick up a paperback copy or find it in a library.
Anyone looking for a very personal and extraordinarily eloquent series of random musings on the subject of death itself couldn't do better than check out Julian Barnes's new book on the subject, Nothing to Be Frightened Of . It's not as comforting as Critchley's book ends up being (whether or not Critchley intends it to be!); it's the personal ruminations of one of Britain's best writers (Flaubert's Parrot, et. al.) on aging and the need to come to terms with death not only in the abstract but as something that he will encounter sooner rather than later.
The book is built as a series of brief little articles detailing some of the thought, experiences, and especially the actual demise, of philosophers. It can be read straight through or by meandering, but a general philosophy of how Critchley thinks we ought to view death creeps through. He favors Montaigne's mix of Epicureanism and Stoicism which forgets of any pretension to an afterlife but focuses rather on living happily in the present, anticipating the "philosopher's death," hopefully a peaceful kind. It's a bit homiletic on this point.
Perhaps more importantly, though, is that Critchley isn't simply offering a way to better understand death through the teachings and lives of various philosphers, but a better way to understand the history of philosophy in general---a different posture toward the dead of the past and thus a way to rethink our place in the present. He tries in his limited way to spread recognition of his view that philosophers the world over contribute to the exercise of thinking about what it means to think and be, that philosophy is a universal activity with all of humanity's messiness, plurality. The most obvious common tie is found in the fact that we all die, and thus it presents a great point of discussion. Overall, the book's concept itself, I think, is much better than Critchley's actual execution (pun intended).
Top reviews from other countries
Slightly wary about used products. However this was fine.
The book arrived on time and condition was very good and well packaged.
Thoroughly enjoyed every word & chapter. I also enjoyed the interesting excepts of female philosophers.