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The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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About the Author
Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show "Philosophy: Who Needs It."
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Top Customer Reviews
I bought this copy to reread the book, and then i plan on gifting it to a co-worker. I had never heard of the author before reading this book and have never read anything by his mentor (and still haven't). But this book has changed the way i see the world. I'm sure not everyone will appreciate this work as it is very dense and academic, to those who do; the insights contained within are priceless.
It is not an easy read. I had to put the book down often and think about the concepts. I'm a history person and purchased the book expecting a simple historical progression. However, the author first introduces the reader to some basic philosophical principles. I've taken a few philosophy courses and had always found it confusing and thus unapproachable. But the first couple chapters of this book changed all that.
He explains the nuts and bolts of academic philosophy in a concise and approachable manner. Then after laying this foundation, takes the reader through the eras of Western civ by examining the dominate modes of thought down the ages. This is done by analyzing the great works of the "cultural creators" in the various ages in the forms of art, science, education and politics.
The final chapter deals with the authors chillingly poignant assessment of current events and predictions for the future. I can't recommend this book enough. Especially to history people who have never really understood or appreciated philosophy. The two go incredible well together and will greatly augment your general understanding.
This book is an example of the very philosophy he argues. It has emergent properties and can lead in any number of directions of further intellectual inquiry. Many will find it uncomfortable and dismiss his argument, but to those who agree, this book will help make the world, and current events, make sense in a way that i cannot possibly do justice in attempting to describe.
For those with a sincere interest in the book, brief summary:
This book accepts that history is not guided by whim or supernatural foresight by ideas. Yes many things happened in history and this book accepts that but it accepts a unity among them.
Greece gave birth to reason. Aristotle was the leader of this great era. This world is real and one should strive for excellence and happiness. There was a small interest in polytheism but even the Gods were limited and therefore had identity.
The mode ruling this era was I, Integration; one in a many.
Rome held onto Greek philosophy but greatly accentuated the Gods in their lives. Greece was looking its strength and many started to doubt their Aristotelian view of life. The Gods do have a great power in the life of man and without them there would be no meaning.
The mode ruling this era was M1, Misintegration; many forming a unity from a transcendental one. Dr. Spinoff calls this "Worldly Supernaturalism."
We all know about the fall of Rome, the crucifixion of Christ and what followed: the rise of the Roman Catholic church. Dr. Peikoff relates the underlying mode of thought with Plato who, just like the Christians, believed this world is unreal and a transcendental perfect world of forms is waiting for us.
The ruling mode of this era was M2, Misintegration; a transcendental one without an earthly many; Platonism.
Thomas Aquinas was famous for his 5 proofs for God and for bringing Aristotle back to man. This led to the Renaissance which Dr. Peikoff sees as a transitional but like the Romans, an M1 era. But this era was leaning towards Aristotle.
Once again, the M1 mode.
This brings the reader to the Enlightenment which the Renaissance paved the way for. People once again accepted reason and Aristotle for the second time in history. The I mode.
The last and most modern modes were created by a philosopher named: Immanuel Kant. He was regarded as the first nihilist and he believed in two worlds. The world we live in now is unknowable and we are impotent to deal with it. The second world is the world of a priori concepts or innate ideas. I am still a little confused to Kant's ideas but this book has inspired me to check out his writings later on and I suggest the same as they are the most confusing. Essentially Kant created the D2 mode which believes in many without a one. We haven't quite reached that yet and the modern mode is D1, many with one's.
It is an enjoyable read and a valuable history lesson. It isn't difficult to comprehend except for some passages in the beginning. But those passages with always be difficult. I am 17 and understood it to a great extent. As I said Kant is difficult to grasp especially on Dr. Peikoff's summaries.
If you like my summaries or the premise in the book, you will enjoy it. If you think ideas are impractical then you will not like this book at all.