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Kant: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 23 Aug 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (23 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192801996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192801999
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.5 x 10.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,682 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.


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Review

Review from previous edition Roger Scruton faced perhaps the most intractable task of all in giving an elementary account of Kant's philosophy ... but he does it extremely elegantly and neatly. (Listener)

About the Author

Roger Scruton's publications include Spinoza in the Past Masters series, Art And Imagination, (1974), The Aesthetics of Architecture (1979), The Aesthetic Understanding (1983), An Intelligent Persons Guide To Philosophy (1996), and The Aesthetics Of Music (1997).

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The greatest modern philosopher was moved by nothing more than by duty. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 5 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
My expectations of this book were never towards a light, easy read. The VSIs on Hume, Hobbes and Spinoza were all tough for the general reader, but, with perseverance, not insurmountable. This one, I'm afraid, defeated me. I forced myself through to the end, and what I understood, I enjoyed. Most interesting to me was Scruton's account of Kant's political vision and the introduction to Kant's metaphysics with relation to the rationalist/empiricist positions of Leibniz and Hume.

Beyond that, there were large chunks that, for me at least, made for tortuous reading - no doubt a reflection of my own intellectual limitations rather than any failing of the author, who, to be fair, pre-warns that a re-read will be necessary. I realise that Kant's ideas are notoriously tough even without their own ambiguities and contradictions, but other readers have obviously got a lot out of this book, so I shall probably file this under 'to re-read'. In the meantime, take this rating as a first impression - possibly of use to other beginners, and hopefully to be revised at a later date.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. Shepherd on 4 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Thoroughly enjoyable, and highly detailed.

The book begins with a short history on Kant. This includes who his family was, the time period in which he lived, how he was educated and where he lived.

The second chapter looks at the philosophical systems which were prominent prior to his writings - namely Hume (empiricism) and Leibniz (rationalism).

The third chapter looks at Kant's famous Critique of Pure Reason. This chapter examines the failings of a fully empirical and fully rationalism philosophical system. Kant's suggestion is one of metaphysics. Kant explains that man is unable to get behind the appearance (the empirical realm) and thus is confined to interpret it on the basis of reason (rationalism). Kant therefore concludes that a universal/absolute explanation of everything is not possible.

The fourth chapter further considers the appearance, rationality, the unconditioned and metaphysics. Metaphysics is then applied to Cosmology and Theology to explain why the traditional arguments for God's existence is problematic.

The fifth chapter examines Kant's Metaphysics of Morals. This chapter fully explains Kant's moral thought (i.e. that you can't get an ought from an is) and the much loved Categorical Imperative.

The sixth chapter considers beauty and design. Anyone familiar with Dennett will be familiar with the arguments contained in this chapter, i.e. that man projects his own understandings, design and intentionality onto the cosmos.

The seventh chapter briefly looks at Kant's views on the enlightenment, politics, law, human rights and points of justice. And finally, the last chapter briefly looks at how Kant's thought influenced later philosophers.

Overall a worthwhile book.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
Kant's arguments are some of the most inpenetrable in modern philosophy. Roger Scruton condences Kant's philosophical system into a hundred and forty pages; symplifying Kant's arguments (without over-simplyfying them) so that you can see how they fit together. I can't recommend this book highly enough for someone interested in the most influential philosopher, or for the student or specialist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Kant is one of those modern philosophers whose presence looms large over much of what has been achieved over the past couple of centuries in modern philosophy, and yet he is not very likely to be read in most introductory philosophy classes. Part of the difficulty lies with Kant's highly technical and oftentimes convoluted use of language, which gave even his contemporaries who were native German speakers some difficulties. The philosophers and scholars have since had a chance to debate, oftentimes vehemently, the "true" meaning of Kant's works and it is unlikely that those debates will end any time soon. With such formidable baggage, it would be very difficult for an absolute novice in philosophy to just plunge into Kant's work and start reading it on its own. A good first exposition by an expert is invaluable and this thin volume serves exactly such purpose. It does a remarkable job of delineating the scope of Kant's thought and bringing this philosopher to life for the new generation of readers.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Leyden on 9 July 2008
Format: Paperback
This was a brilliant book to help understand the fundamentals of Kant. I flew my exam after reading it. I'd recommend it for scholars or just people with an interest. Kant is a hard read at the best of times but this book laid it out as simple as possible. Its text is concise and readable and will inpire you to read more of Kants work.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By THE Music Enthusiast on 3 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
"Kant: A Very Short Introduction" is an elegantly written and stimulating introduction to the theories of Immanuel Kant that explains his main ideas in clear and concise language. Be aware, however, that while this book is indeed an excellent breakdown of Kant's ideas, the ideas themselves are very complex (so serene was the philosopher's thought), which doesn't make this introduction the totally easy read you might assume it to be. You may have to re-read a few of the passages to enjoy and assimilate the ideas within. For me, the best way to appreciate them and learn from the book was by reading it in a relaxed enviroment without any distractions or disruptions.

I bought this book to help me understand some of the texts and the references in them that I come across and must read in my work. I've found the book to be majorly useful and so am very happy with the purchasel. I would certainly recommend it.
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