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Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

on March 4, 1999
This is a very easy to read introduction to Kant's philosophy. I'm in Catholic seminary, and we read Kant's Prolegomena and his Foundations for the Metaphysics of Morals. Reading the direct texts was difficult. I ordered this little gem of a philosophy book from, and it clarified many questions I still had about Kant. I highly encourage philosophy students to buy it.
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on March 24, 2000
This book may serve as both an introduction to Kant or, for those with interest but little time to tackle Kant, an excellent summary of the key arguments that made Kant famous. Scruton is in obvious awe of Kant's contribution to philosophty (rightly so) and astonishingly presents Kant without a lot of the impenetrable phrases Kant cooked up to explain himself.
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on July 6, 2011
This book is NOT accessible - except for those with a degree in Philosophy, perhaps. The high reviews likely come from people not willing to admit this book is simply confusing. It simply tries to cover far too much information in too few of pages. It does not make nearly enough use of examples. It does not break down complex concepts into understandable concepts.
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VINE VOICEon April 3, 2014
Immanuel Kant is one of the more challenging philosophers to understand. Roger Scruton is a philosopher who can make difficult philosophy accessible. My expectations were thus high when I began reading this relatively short work. Unfortunately, my brain was not entirely up to the task. It was neither Kant's nor Scruton's fault; I take full responsibility for my intellectual inadequacies. I take some consolation that the subject matter is as difficult as it is, but I must admit that I continue to have this pull towards Kant because I firmly believe that getting him will open vast intellectual vistas. He appeals to the Christian mind because of focus on duty as the motivation for morals (although I disagree with his absolutism). His categorical imperative presents a worthy ideal to strive for, but I would allow for distinctions among circumstances.

I am sure that other readers will get more than I did. There were times when Kant, via Scruton, cut through the thicket of complexity and exposed an open field of understanding, in the exposition of Kant's political philosophy, for example. I see my plodding through this book as an initial effort to become exposed to the concepts and to lay the groundwork for future understanding. I hope it comes.
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on June 6, 2014
The kind of American alter ego that washes itself with savage mockery for purification each evening on TV will not see the contradictions that can never be refuted by anything to the contrary notwithstanding. Kant is a college level training for people who will draw up contracts for the party of the first part. A study of Kant is the perfect guide for creating a commercial language which bestows power by leaving epistemic modalities in a ditch of finiteness for followers like Kierkegaard to want to leap into something that passes understanding by folding several dimensions into the string theory which has captured political jellyfish in a monetary web pulled by a flashy bang gravy train with a fleet of nuclear submarines. Fundamental jellyfish fluid dynamics has replaced religion as everything else stays the same for people who know Kant this well.

The printed word is the devil. Degraded by the tricks of those who think paying attention to magic is the greatest form of the sociology of knowledge, what dares to be crazy enough to adopt the mark of the beast will continue to laugh at the good will that followers of Kant are sticking to like lemmings who have mounted monetary mushroom clouds.
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HALL OF FAMEon January 26, 2005
I once had a physics teacher the late Dave Levinstein of blessed memory who when asked by a student about relativity theory said the following; "I read some of that Einstein stuff, but the truth is , I didn't get it." That's very much the way I feel about a lot of this book. I did read with interest Scruton's account of Kant's life in which it turns out that the man his neighbors set their clocks by was also a quite sociable human being, and very much appreciated by his local townspeople. Kant who came from a poor family and who worked very hard all his life worked himself up in the system from private teacher to professor. He was an enormously popular lecturer, who drew standing room crowds. His heart was above all in metaphysics, but he also lectured at many other subjects including astronomy . Scruton says that he is the most important philosopher of modernity, and in purely philosophical ( philosophers between philosophers) terms this may be correct. He is not however a very congenial writer, and reading him trying to paraphrase his abstractions into your own. I have tried 'The Critique of Pure Reason' a few times and never really felt I was getting it. How liberating it is after reading Kant to read a great literary stylist like Nietzsche. In any case in this short work Scruton does outline and summarize the three great critiques. He shows how Kant's religious position in a certain way grows out of his Aesthetics and his sense of something sublime and transcendent. He underlines the Kantian position that it is the categories of our mind which shape our experience, and it is our experience which we know. And this means 'Reality- in - Itself' is transcendent and beyond our own apprehension.

This work seems to me a good introduction and summary. But again I do not feel I really understand Kant, at least not in any depth. The happy philosophical reader however might gain in understanding through reading and rereading this small work.
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on June 1, 2000
Scruton's book on Kant is, in my view, the best book available on Kant if the goal is to get a quick overview of the philosopher's "Critical System." This is a short and concise book and it does the impossible: summarize Kant's three critiques (of Pure Reason, of Practical Reason and of Judgment) in a pocket-sized book. And it is very readable. I generally really enjoy Scruton's writings; he is one of the few commentators who can write about philosophical matters in an understandable fashion for the common reader. This is doubly amazing since Scruton himself is a first rate philosopher...
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on July 1, 2000
I don't know who foisted off the job of introducing Kant to the intellectual masses, but the could not have chosen better. My teeth hurt when I think about introducing Kant to neophytes. I still don't know how he did it, because I can't explain Kant to anyone without having them instantly MEGO (my eyes glaze over) and run crying to thre corner of the room.
There is a lot that could be called contentious in this book (too much to go into) but that isn't a bad point about any book on Kant- there are no uncontentious books on Kant except biographies. All told, what I disagree with Scruton on is overshadowed by the mass of things he got right or even better than I have (no mean feat).
It is assured Scruton's interpretations of Kant will become mainstream simply because he is the only man alive to make immediately intelligable sense of the man. Remember, Kant was the man HL Mencken attributed the incredibly funny comment
"Kant was the worst writer on earth before Marx. He had many ideas, and some of them quite simple, but he always managed to make them seem unintelligable. I hope he is in hell"
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on April 6, 2000
I recently read Scruton's "Kant" after being away from philosophy for many years, and was fascinated by Scruton's presentation of Kant's philosophy. Scruton is obviously a master teacher, and I wish I had this book when I was an undergraduate attempting to read The Critique of Pure Reason. This book is an excellent introduction to Kant.
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