- Series: Topics In Historical Philosophy
- Paperback: 516 pages
- Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (July 13, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0810123800
- ISBN-13: 978-0810123809
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism (Topics In Historical Philosophy) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Lee Braver is chair of the department of philosophy at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio.
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Another personal note: because of my highly unorthodox ontogenetic orientation (presented in my last few books), I was particularly interested to see that, and how, all the major figures Braver discusses as well as those mentioned more or less in passing remained what I have come to call adultocentric -- very roughly, the position that allows one to see issues only from a mature person's perspective, neglecting and ignoring, unaware of, the still present significant heritage of individual development that continues to be carried and tacitly at work in adulthood (and in later childhood) -- which I see as an important limitation on thinking not only in philosophy but in virtually all fields -- mostly because it seriously distorts one's conception of what language is and does. Of course, it should go without saying that Braver cannot be blamed for that shortcoming displayed by the various thinkers whose work he analyzes.
Let me add that another, related basic shortcoming common to all of those thinkers analyzed by Braver is that in spite of the many obvious differences, over the centuries the nature of the basic conundrum addressed (unsuccessfully) in these realism/antirealism debates (What is the relationship between what we experience/think/believe/perceive from "inside" us and what is "out there"? What is the nature of self, and of other?) has not really changed; I can see no fundamental progress concerning this paradox. I believe that a critical factor that has impeded progress is the surprising psychological naivete (from a clinician's point of view) shown by the philosophers and scientists who have participated in these debates.
Can an author possibly address the thought of these celebrated major post Kantian thinkers in one book? Lee Braver takes the one approach that could succeed, namely he focuses on a key topic (realism) that these thinkers all address, some head-on, others more obliquely. The most salient feature of Braver's book, in my opinion, is that one might expect that the thought of each thinker presented would be superficial. I mean can 100 volumes of Heidegger's, writings, lectures, etc., realistically be distilled in one book of manageable size? It can if you limit your focus to a specific topic, and highlight the relevant insights on this topic from each philosopher. Now the difficulty here is to do this without having your 'survey' of several of the greatest minds in the history of Western philosophy end up like a 'Post-Kantian Anti-Realism for Dummies" primer. But on the other hand, you can't let the survey get so bogged-down in scholarly interpretation (and squabbling) that the narrative never gets off the ground! In my opinion, Braver does a sterling job of presenting an intriguing synopsis of each continental philosopher's thinking that relates to the realism/anti-realism 'debate'. Braver also provides some realism 'ballast' through the views of certain key analytic philosophers such as Putnam, Davidson and others.
Overall, Braver's project is a successful undertaking. One could, of course, argue whether Sartre, for example, might have been a better selection rather than Foucault, or even more importantly, while Braver does give some space to Husserl, as a bridge between analytic and continental 'sides', I still think much greater attention needs to be devoted to Husserl and the history phenomenology in general. However, since Lee Braver's book is already 500 pages long, this suggestion would be impractical.
The fact that Braver is able to render significant insight into the various 'phases' of thought that these major continental philosophers passed through is exemplary.
I would definitely recommend this book.
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in philosophic erudition.