- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (March 17, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345373162
- ISBN-13: 978-0345373168
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 99 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A History of Knowledge: Past, Present, and Future Reissue Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Van Doren's provocative, encyclopedic guide to great thinkers, concepts and philosophical trends was a BOMC and History Book Club selection in cloth.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Van Doren, once editorial director of the Encyclopedia Brittanica , has produced a miniature encyclopedia, organized to show that there is progress in knowledge. He praises Columbus for giving us "a world well on the way to the unity it experiences today." India is mentioned as the source of the caste system. The Chinese gave us Confucius, but Van Doren notes their main legacy seems to be good recipes for tyranny. He warns that some good knowledge is unpleasant: we must now control our technology. Ultimately, the best knowledge for him is Western scientific knowledge since it is cumulative, meaning that better theories nearly always replace worse ones. An avid reader of Popular Mechanics who went to sleep in Peoria, Illinois in 1920 and awoke today with this book in her/his hands would probably find their ideals intact, needing only new technical knowledge and preparation for Van Doren's predicted revolt of intelligent machines. Van Doren has distilled the ideology of scientific progress into a neat, short drink that should win him a place on every library shelf.
- Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa, Canada
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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It begins with very early man and ends with a stretched imagination about the possibilities for the future. Each subject (from philosophy to digital computations) is well covered for novices. The author does a great job of focusing on philosophy and how it's shaped civilization.
Another interesting, well-done explanation involves digital technology and how it compares to analog.
From science to religion to politics, the author carefully explains and does well at refraining from biased thought at most turns.
This is a book I have already referred and will do so again.