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Philosophy in the Modern World: A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume 4: New History of Western Philosophy v. 4 Hardcover – 17 May 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (17 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198752792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198752790
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.5 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 977,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

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)

About the Author

Sir Anthony Kenny is one of Britain's most distinguished academic figures. He has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Master of Balliol College, Chairman of the Board of the British Library, and President of the British Academy. He has published more than forty books on philosophy and history.

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Britain escaped the violent constitutional upheavals that affected most of Europe during the last years of the eighteenth, and the early years of the nineteenth, century. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By milos milojevic on 4 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
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 By Dr. Mark W. Tebbit on 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 By sanyata on 9 Feb. 2010
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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 By trini on 10 Dec. 2011
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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 Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Strong Finale to Strong Series 24 Oct. 2010
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
`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
Kenny at his best... 15 Jun. 2014
By Gene C. Bammel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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
Very good--but some gaps 29 May 2014
By William Allan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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
a credible source 24 Dec. 2013
By travel light and smiling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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
Five Stars 4 Aug. 2014
By José Monserrat Neto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I WANT TO SEE THE TABLE CONTENTS OF AMAZON BOOKS!!!
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