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Philosophy in the Modern World: A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume 4

Philosophy in the Modern World: A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume 4 [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Kenny
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description


An enviable combination of authority and page-turning readability. (Anthony Freeman, THES)

Both scholarly and accessible... a fine choice not only for those with a background in philosophy but for those new to the subject. (Library Journal USA)

Product Description

Sir Anthony Kenny tells the fascinating story of the development of philosophy in the modern world, from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Alongside (and intertwined with) extraordinary scientific advances, cultural changes, and political upheavals, the last two centuries have seen some of the most intriguing and original developments in philosophical thinking, which have transformed our understanding of ourselves and our world. In the first part of the
book Kenny offers a lively narrative introducing the major thinkers in their historical context. He then proceeds to guide the reader lucidly through the nine main areas of philosophical work in the period, offering a serious engagement with the ideas and arguments. Among those we meet are the great
figures of continental European philosophy, from Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche to Heidegger and Sartre; the Pragmatists who first developed a distinctively American philosophical tradition; Marx, Darwin, and Freud, the non-philosophers whose influence on philosophy was immense; Wittgenstein and Russell, friends and colleagues who set the agenda for analytic philosophy in the twentieth century.

Philosophy in the Modern World brings to completion Kenny's magisterial New History of Western Philosophy. The four volumes have been designed to dovetail with each other: they offer a unified overview of the entire development of philosophy, allowing readers to trace themes through the centuries, from antiquity to the present day. The story is illuminated by a selection of intriguing and beautiful illustrations.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1603 KB
  • Print Length: 364 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0198752792
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (17 May 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0061ADI5M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #513,216 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice for beginners 4 Jun 2013
Kenny is some of the leading historians of philosophy in English speaking world and very good at some fields. So if you want read some good general introduction in history of philosophy you should read this book. But this book is nothing more than this - general introduction. If you want some more you should look somewhere else.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of philosophy at its best 5 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kenny is one of the best living English philosophers. This is the last in a four-volume series on his history of Western philosophy. It's his own idiosyncratic take on developments since the 19th century, effortlessly spanning the divide between analytic and continental philosophy since Bentham.
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3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Messy 9 Feb 2010
By sanyata
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to this, but the presentation is so dense and messy that I gave up about 25% though. Though it might be more light-hearted I am eagerly awaiting Gottliebs followup for the Dream of Reason instead.
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3 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bene cucurristis, sed extra viam 10 Dec 2011
By trini
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Review of Anthony Kenny's Philosophy in the Modern World, which is Vol. 4 of his A New History of Western Philosophy.

I sum up the impression left on me by the majority of the philosophers who appear in this book, with a quote from St Augustine:

"Bene cucurristis sed extra viam",
which I translate/interpret as
"you (plural) have run well and had a lot of fun, but the only trouble is, you weren't doing your running on the racetrack in the stadium at all".

In other words, the overwhelming impression is one of misdirected effort, demolishing or ignoring or simply being unaware of the existence of the `real' philosophy of the previous centuries up to the sixteenth century, and re-inventing, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, a study which was still called philosophy, but now wrongly so, for in fact it was emptied of the most meaningful emphases of `real' immemorial philosophy.

Kenny says of his 4-volume series: "The first two volumes [up to the Renaissance] began the thematic section with a chapter on logic and language, but there was no such chapter in volume III because logic went into hibernation at the Renaissance. In the period covered by the present [4th] volume formal logic and the philosophy of language occupied such a central position that each topic deserves a chapter to itself" (p. xiii). Although I read through the whole of Kenny's 4th volume, what sticks in my mind especially is the influence of the two `English' philosophers of the period, Ludwig Wittgenstein and A J Ayer (both depending on Bertrand Russell?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Finale to Strong Series 24 Oct 2010
By Reader - Published on
`Philosophy in the Modern World' is the fourth of four volumes in Anthony Kenny's `A New History of Western Philosophy' recently published by Oxford University Press. For those unfamiliar with the author, Kenny is a leading contemporary scholar that has previously written noteworthy texts on Aquinas, Descartes, and Wittgenstein amongst others.

The series is the best single-author overview of Western philosophy of which I am familiar, more readable than Copleston and more even-handed than Russell. Kenny is a talented writer with an impressive knowledge of the Western tradition, able to tell the story of philosophy is an integrated and insightful manner. As is becoming popular in introductory texts Kenny blends a chronological and subject matter approach, over viewing the period chronologically in the first third of the book then looking at specific subjects in more detail in the latter part (e.g. ethics, epistemology, metaphysics). This would seem to be a helpful approach to the newcomer; providing some important historic context before delving into specific material in detail.

Assessment of introductory books such as this are often colored not only by the author's writing ability and knowledge but also by their focus. This latter point is particularly important as one approaches the present day - it is difficult to judge which thinkers and notions will ultimately have the greatest significance. That said, I found myself to be generally in agreement with Kenny's choices; heavy doses of Wittgenstein, Mill, Frege, and Russell with some Darwin and Freud thrown in to round out the intellectual milieu. I also agreed with his decision to minimize Quine and largely pass over Davidson. My only criticism in this regard would be his coverage of Schopenhauer - while not unimportant he strikes me as the poor man's Buddhist and given the intellectual giants in this period discussion of his views could have been reduced.

While I feel Kenny's work deserves a wide audience I am uncertain if it will readily find one. Those with sufficient background to follow the discussion may pass on the book, while those unacquainted with philosophy may find that the text moves too fast and somewhat opaque. And, finally, from a physical perspective the paper is glossy making it difficult to read it certain lightening conditions (reflection).

Overall, this is a good work and a strong series by an excellent philosopher
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenny at his best... 15 Jun 2014
By Gene C. Bammel - Published on
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I rate this book with 5 stars because: Kenny writes well; he is a master of what he is writing about; the book is remarkably comprehensive, with startlingly good reviews of Quine and others that are brief and insightful. I write as someone who has done "history of philosophy" for over 50 years, have read and enjoyed many such summary books, (beginning with B.A.G. Fuller more than 50 years ago) and seek "enlightenment" wherever it may be found. This is a well-written summary of philosophy in the 20th century, a book with some shortcomings, but with the authority of Anthony Kenny, who has read and written widely, and consistently comments perceptively. If you want a great, easy to read summary of philosophy in the 20th century, this would be a good choice!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good--but some gaps 29 May 2014
By William Allan - Published on
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A very valuable guide to modern philosophy. Some curious omissions: no Foucault, no Habermas, a dismissive review of Derrida, but otherwise a very constructive overview of modern philosophical developments and an excellent structure that allows tracking of development of different ideas and philosophical approaches.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a credible source 24 Dec 2013
By travel light and smiling - Published on
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I'm never a fan of analytic philosophy. This contains a pretty good account of that area of philosophy, as well as other modern comments.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 4 Aug 2014
By José Monserrat Neto - Published on
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