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Way to Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy Paperback – September 10, 1960

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An eloquent expression of a great hope that philosophy may again become an activity really relevant not only to the perennial problems of life and death but to the unusual configurations of such problems in our time."

About the Author

Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) took his degree in medicine but soon became interested in psychiatry. The author of a standard work of psychopathology, as well as special studies on Strindberg, Van Gogh and Nietsche. After World War I he became Professor of Philosophy at Heidelberg, where he achieved fame as a brilliant teacher and an early exponent of existentialism. He was among the first to acquaint German readers with the works of Kierkegaard.

Richard M. Owsley, professor of philosophy at North Texas University, is president of the Karl Jaspers Society of North America.

Ralph Manheim (b. New York, 1907) was an American translator of German and French literature. His translating career began with a translation of Mein Kempf in which Manheim set out to reproduce Hitler's idiosyncratic, often grammatically aberrant style. In collaboration with John Willett, Manheim translated the works of Bertolt Brecht. The Pen/Ralph Manheim Medal for translation, inaugurated in his name, is a major lifetime achievement award in the field of translation. He himself won its predecessor, the PEN translation prize, in 1964. Manheim died in Cambridge in 1992. He was 85.

Richard M. Owsley, professor of philosophy at North Texas University, is president of the Karl Jaspers Society of North America. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2nd edition (September 10, 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300001347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300001341
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,984,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book originated from 12 radio talks given by Karl Jaspers, right after World War II. It is written in an extremely lucid and direct manner, and it is more of an introduction to the art, or process, of philosophising rather than to philosophy itself as a discipline. In this book existential philosophy, the brand of philosophy so successfuly cultivated by Jaspers, is described, so to speak, "from inside". There is hardly any analysis of philosophical terms, but rather a presentation of the inner process of approach to the metaphysical questions confronting the individual person. Jaspers belongs to the great idealist tradition, initiated by Plato, developed further by the medieval schoolmen, and lastly by Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schelling, Soeren Kirekegaard and others. According to Jaspers the core-meaning of man's identity is his sense of freedom. Freedom is presented as an immediate datum of consciousness, as that part of man's personality which "evades all object knowledge but is always present in him as a potentiality". Irrespective of what is omitted, this book offers a subject-matter of impeccable honesty and undiluted spirituality. This is a great book superbly well written. Also, the translation by Ralph Manheim is quite masterly. It is an out and out example of what every translation should actually be: a representation in another language of the meaning and style of the original text.
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Format: Paperback
Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) was a German psychiatrist and existentialist philosopher, who wrote many important books such as Reason and Existenz, Philosophy of Existence, Man in the Modern Age, The Future of Mankind, etc.

He begins this 1951 book, "What philosophy is and how much it is worth are matters of controversy... And indeed, what goes by the name of philosophy provides examples to warrant all these conflicting judgments. For the scientific-minded, the worst aspect of philosophy is that it produces no universally valid results; it provides nothing that we can know and thus possess... Nor is philosophical thought, like the sciences, characterized by progressive development... It lies in the very nature of philosophy... that in any of its forms it must dispense with the unanimous recognition of all. The certainty to which it aspires is not of the objective, scientific sort... it is an inner certainty in which a man's whole being participates... essentially philosophy springs from a different source. It emerges before any science, wherever men achieve awareness." (Pg. 7-8)

He adds, "There is no escape from philosophy. The question is only whether a philosophy is conscious or not, whether it is good or bad, muddled or clear. Anyone who rejects philosophy is himself unconsciously practicing a philosophy." (Pg.
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very nice
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By Michael on September 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great
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