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From Plato To Nietzsche Hardcover – May 21, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Any intelligent student will have his appetite whetted by a study or perusal of this book."

-- Higher Education Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

This book is a clear, comprehensive guide to the philosophic and religious concepts of the world's outstanding philosophers.

Here are the great thoughts and ideas of the Western mind, selected and explained with magnificent precision by an eminent scholar.

It is an illuminating portrait of man's intellectual and moral struggle to understand the world and the meaning of human life and destiny.

Plato

Aristotle

Augustine

Aquinas

Luther

Descartes

Kant

Rousseau

Marx

Nietzsche --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Literary Licensing, LLC (May 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1258024055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1258024055
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,575,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. M. C. VINE VOICE on September 29, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
E. T. Allen's own notes state that "This book is an attempt to introduce the ordinary reader to the effort of the Western mind, sustained for centuries, to grapple with the major problems of human life and destiny. For this purpose, two outstanding figures are selected from each of the major periods of European development and their contribution to thought is set out: connecting links are provided so that the story may make something of a whole. i have endeavoured throughout to avoid technical language as far as the subject permits and to concentrate on essentials. No previous knowledge is assumed, but only interest. I do not, of course, pretend that no difficulties remain; but the reader who finds Aristotle and Kant no easy country to explore may take heart from the fact that even the experts sometimes confess themselves lost. My advice therefore is to pass over at the first reading any sections that prove reluctant to yield up their meaning and to return to them later for further study.
It should be noted that this book contains the complete text of the original hardback edition, and was printed in Great Britain in 1957, by The English Universities Press Ltd., under the title of "GUIDE BOOK TO WESTERN THOUGHT".
The author, Edgar Leonard Allen is the author of "Kierkegaard: His Life and Thought", "Existentialism from Within and Guides to the Thought of Barth, Berdyaev, Brunner, Heim, Jaspers, Maritain and Neibuhr".
I liked this book for the coverage provided of those Mr. Allen chose to discourse on, even though they are not just Western Philosophers well known as such. Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, Marx and Nietzsche are considered to be religious in nature, but I found that his information on them was valuable just the same. I consider this little book to be a classic and can be enjoyed by any scholar or person who wants to expand their knowledge of "Masters".
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The reader who finds Aristotle and Kant no easy country to explore may take heart from the fact that even experts sometimes confess themselves lost." E. L. Allen

Greek Philosophy:
Philosophical writings, assumed to be at the core of western thought, evolve from a concrete historical setting with origins in Greece, Rome, and Jerusalem. The Greek intellectual power, which still amazes us, was lacking the material we have stacked today to practically exercise it. Socrates, whose dedication was to careful reasoning, is the prime intellectual and influential thinker in the entire Western enterprise. Socrates employed the Sophists logical reason for the pursuit of truth. Athens put Socrates on trial, for undermining tradition, in his venture of genuine knowledge. Plato's views of truth proceeded from Socrates moral vision and the sophists' relativism, endorsing them with the study of mathematics.

Pondering Western Thought?
The thought epoques progress as four connected links From Plato to Nietzsche: Plato/Aristotle, Augustine/aquinas/Luther, Decartes/Kant/Rousseau, and Marx/Nietzche. The coaching author advice is always valid, if you really intend to teach yourself, "pass over at the first reading any sections that prove reluctant to yield up their meaning and to return to them later..." Since these thinkers progress within a tradition, they are often directly related to each other. Within the reading of a particular philosopher, it is interesting to notice the logic in which the knowledge proceeds and thought in one era links up with material from a preceding one.

Conflicting Trends:
In his final appraisal review, Allen seemed uncertain on the outcome of the conflicting trends and which will prevail.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book seems out of date and not read anymore, so I"ll make this review short. I found this book in my father's bookcase and thought I'd brush up on my ancient philosophers. I was hoping for a short intro to the ideas of various thinkers, as the book implies it will be, and to a degree I got it...

However, I also got a bit too much of the author's own opinions and way too much of his own bias.

E.L Allen is a christian and states that pretty overtly when discussing Nietzsche. The book ends up focusing entirely around christianity and every author he discusses has to relate to that. When he did this for Plato and Aristotle I figured it was just to make way for Augustine and Aquinas, presenting his 10 authors as a continuum... but alas.

The first casualty of his Christian obsession is in the selection of philosophers. With a mere 10 philosophers set to represent all of western philosophy, it seems absurd that three of them (Luthur, Aquinas and Augustine) are only really relevant to Christian thought and have little to do with western philosphy as a whole. Perhaps a case could be made for Aquinas or Augustine, but Luthur's inclusion is frankly absurd. Would not Kierkagaard, Locke, Spinoza, Hegel, Schelling or any other number of central philosophers have been more useful?

Undoubtably. Christian thought is important to Western THought in general, but when surveying western philosohpy its better to discuss it within the context of Descartes, Kant et al than bring in such a useless thinker as Luthur.

The second great problem is that the author is quite incabable of objectively reading Marx or Nietzsche, the two non-Christians included who aren't ancient Greeks. In fact, his sections on both revolve around a standard logical fallacy: the ad-hominem.
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