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German Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche [Paperback]

Roger Scruton , Peter Singer , Christopher Janaway , Michael Tanner , Keith Thomas
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 15.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Mar 2001
German Philosophers contains studies of four of the most important German theorists: Kant, arguably the most influential modern philosopher; Hegel, whose philosophy inspired a vision of a communist society that for more than one hundred years enlivened revolutionary movements around the world; Schopenhauer, renowned for his pessimistic view that for human individual non-existence would be preferable; and Nietzsche, who has been appropriated as an icon by an astonishingly diverse spectrum of people. Written by leading scholars in the field, German Philosophers is the only work to bring together texts on the four philosophers who represent a central school of German philosophy. With a Foreword by Sir Keith Thomas and extensive notes for further reading, this handy volume serves as an easy-to-use introduction for the beginning philosophy student and a quick and comprehensive reference for scholars.

Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (15 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854247
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Roger Scruton is currently Research Professor for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences where he teaches philosophy at their graduate school in both Washington and Oxford. He is a writer, philosopher and public commentator. He has specialised in aesthetics with particular attention to music and architecture. He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist. He has written widely in the press on political and cultural issues.

Product Description

About the Author

Roger Scruton is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London. His books include Spinoza, also in the Past Masters series, Sexual Desire, and Modern Philosophy, along with several works of fiction. Peter Singer is De Camp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is well known for his text Animal Liberation. His other books include Democracy and Disobedience, Practical Ethics, and the Past Master on Marx. His recent book, Rethinking Life and Death, won the National Book Council of Australia's Bajo Award for the best non-fiction book of 1994. Christopher Janaway is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London, and author of Self and World in Schopenhauer's Philosophy (1989). Michael Tanner is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College and a University Lecturer in Philosophy at Cambridge. His publications include Critical History of Opera and Wagner.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value. 8 Dec 2011
This book contains word for the word the same introductions found in the "A very short introduction" series. It is definitely good value, as you are getting 4 for just less than the price of two.
I was particularly impressed with Singer's introduction to Hegel who is out of all of the philosophers, the least easy to digest. Unfortunately I felt the Nietzsche section was written with too little focus on his views on science and his perspectivism, and also written above the layman level unlike the others. It seems out of place among the rest.

Other than those small critiques, definitely worth the purchase.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Past Masters... 11 Sep 2011
This anthology contains four essays, one for each of the major German philosophers mentioned in the title. Although not recommended for novice students of philosophy, these essays outline the main points of what each philosopher attempted to explain, the responses by critics, and then the counter arguments either from modern followers of the respective theories or by the original theorist themselves. An in-depth analysis and useful for University level.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the hardest 13 July 2000
By James Versluys - Published on Amazon.com
These are highly admirable overviews by some of the best of the current set of the philsophers examining past greats.
This must have been a difficult book to put together. The editors would have to have found not one, but four great authors from which to put together introductions for the hardest authors in all philosophy.
He succeeded. This book makes immediately explaicable two of the hardest authors in all history- Kant and Hegel. I was amazed at the level of commentary in this short a work. It is almost impossible to pull this easy an introduction off. My hat is off to both Scruton and Singer.
The other commentaries and introcductions were as good as they come. Because of the ease of Schoepenhaur and Nietzsche, the authors had more room to give reasonably complete explanations and ruminations on their lives. Janner and Tannaway both make superb additions to these traditions, both commentaries worthy of being works in themselves.
This is four times a good book. My respect to all the authors, and my full throated call for people to read these books.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book 3 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This is a truly wonderful book. The reader can grasp what is being said in a relatively short time and spend the rest of his life thinking about it. I recommend it to newcomers in philosophy to get a good introduction to the some great philosophical thinking as well as to more seasoned practitioners so that they may learn how to explain things.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply outstanding 6 April 2000
By Richard L. King - Published on Amazon.com
All of the philosophers covered in this volume are difficult to read. They are difficult to read for several reasons, including: 1) some of the translations of the primary texts are mediocre at best; 2)translations never truly capture the intent of the original texts; and 3) even in the original German the ideas are challenging and difficult. Because of these difficulties, this book, which provides incisive accounts of the German philosophers, is particularly useful to the English-speaking reader. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some parts are better than others 5 April 2013
By Doktor Faustus - Published on Amazon.com
The first thing you should know about this book, "German Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche" by Roger Scruton, Peter Singer, Christopher Janaway, and Michael Tanner, is that each section on a specific philosopher is the same as the corresponding "___: A Very Short Introduction". For example, Roger Scruton, who wrote the section in this book about Kant, also wrote "Kant: A Very Short Introduction", and that book and the chapter of this book are one and the same. Likewise for Singer and Hegel, Janaway and Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche and Tanner.

The first section is about Immanuel Kant. This is the best of the collection; Scruton does a great job of describing Kant's system for understanding reality and also explains clearly his moral philosophy. He gives adequate background information for understanding Kant's thought (for example, how Kant's thought is in some ways a compromise to and also an opposition to Hume and Leibniz's philosophy). Kant's ideas are often called the most difficult in all of philosophy, but Scruton enables the reader to get some understanding of them.

The second section is about Georg Hegel. Singer's overview of Hegel is very confusing and somewhat disjointed despite an overarching sense of order in Hegel's philosophy. Singer also seems to spend considerable time questioning Hegel in the same breath as he is describing his ideas. This is distracting; it would be much better to include a concluding section that challenges Hegel's ideas rather than injecting skepticism into every step.

The third section is about Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer's ideas are some of the most hard-hitting of the collection and Janaway conveys this perfectly. This section is well organized and the language used to describe Schopenhauer is clear, understandable, and precise. After reading this book, it this section that has left me with the most to think about, and I think the author gives a good starting point for further reading.

The last section is about Friedrich Nietzsche. This section embodies what people dislike about philosophy: academic pretentiousness, pointlessly confusing vocabulary, and a tendency to criticize everything. Tanner does not explain Nietzsche's ideas well at all; after pushing through this section, I still have no clue what his major works are about and why Nietzsche is so popular today. Tanner trivializes Nietzsche's thoughts and reduces his opinions on Wagner and Goethe to mere jealousy and hero-worship.

What this all means is that you can decide which sections you want by choosing only the corresponding "___: A Very Short Introduction" books. I personally recommend the ones on Kant and Schopenhauer but not the ones on Hegel or Nietzsche. It's not worth trudging through the disappointing sections in this book just for the good parts; go for the VSI books instead.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound ideas from some profound thinkers 15 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I was already familiar with these philosophers after taking a course in philosophy, but the way in which these authors eluciate the ideas of these thinkers makes this a five-star book. In order of their greatness I'd have to place Nietzsche first, Scophenhauer second, Kant third, and while Hegel was profound, his worship of history was a little too much for me to swallow, so I place him last.
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