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Cyril Smith (London)

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Martin Heidegger (Routledge Critical Thinkers)
Martin Heidegger (Routledge Critical Thinkers)
by Timothy Clark
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well..., 16 Jan 2004
This is a good introduction to Heidegger, but beware that it is not really a philosophical one; the error I made was not to notice that it was written as an introduction to his literary theory. As such, I'm afraid that it is almost certainly a case of 'philosophy-lite'. As far as I can see, it would be best to start with one of the Routledge Critical Thinkers books, e.g. the one by Stephen Mulhall, which is pretty solid. Dreyfus' book, 'Being in the world', is also worth looking at.


Adorno's Positive Dialectic
Adorno's Positive Dialectic
by Yvonne Sherratt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £64.55

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting..., 29 July 2003
Without wishing to go into too much detail concerning the content of the book, i'd just like to say that i found some of its arguments hugely interesting, but was disappointed by the straightjacket into which the author pressed many of her results. Specifically, she seemed to be overly insistent on reducing everything Adorno has to say to matters of epistemology; this seems to be a problem that pervades 'analytic' philosophy, and it is something that almost ruins the book. Having said that, though, it does offer some new and interesting insights into Adorno's writing, and is worth reading, if only for the sake of the issues it raises despite the poverty of its general approach.


Republic (Oxford World's Classics)
Republic (Oxford World's Classics)
by Plato
Edition: Paperback

76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A note on editions, 29 July 2003
I have to agree with the other reviewers: this really is a must read. I would also recommend reading it in conjunction with some of Plato's other dialogues, the Statesman being particularly interest to see how Plato's approach to politics and wider society changes over the years.
The important thing, however, is to get a good translation, and I don't think that the Waterfield one really cuts it: it tries a little too hard to be colloquial, and in my opinion ends up obscuring quite a few important passages (not to mention all the other problems of buying the non-standard edition - such as quotes not being easily comparable to other people's versions).
The problem was so bad that I ended up having to buy the CUP version as well (translated by Tom Griffith), which turned out not only to be more accurate but also more readable.
I'll just add finally that it goes without saying that the Republic is an excellent read, but be warned that much of it is easy to dismiss on first sight, so please do take the trouble to think about it a little more.


Hegel: Elements of the Philosophy of Right (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
Hegel: Elements of the Philosophy of Right (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
by Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition of a classic, 30 Aug 2002
Since the Philosophy of Right is not the kind of book one might buy on impulse, i will restrict my comments to the quality of this edition of it. Unfortunately, i must concur with the blurb above; this is an excellent version of the text. The explanatory notes at the back of the book are full and useful and the introduction by Allen Wood is clear. It may, however, have been useful to have provided a commentary on the text in the manner of J. N. Findlay's on the Phenomenology - some sections are a little difficult, to say the least. This is probably asking too much though, so i would recommend instead that you read it in conjunction with an exposition of the text by a secondary author (Marcuse's 'Reason and Revolution' is in my opinion excellent, and while a little thin on detail at some points it can help to give an impression of the general drift of the arguments).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2009 10:07 AM BST


Hegel (Arguments of the Philosophers)
Hegel (Arguments of the Philosophers)
by Michael Inwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.78

7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish, 24 Aug 2002
This is an attempt to gleam from Hegel what Inwood sees as relevent to the English analytic tradition of which the author seems to be a partisan. As it proudly claims in the blurb, Hegel is examined not on his own terms but on Inwood's. This makes it at times difficult to see what Inwood is referring to, since he does not at least provide the Hegelian term he is arguing with for the sake of reference. Further, the intermingling of exposition and criticism, while doubtless convenient for the author, makes the book very difficult to read.
One is tempted to suggest that Inwood has learned little from Hegel - where is the attempt at immanent critique? (i.e. at least on his own terms) metacritique? The system as a whole? (which Inwood tries his hardest to keep in the closet, preferring to examine it analytically in terms of its parts).
A truly terrible book.


The Success and Failure of Fredric Jameson: Writing, the Sublime, and the Dialectic of Critique (Suny Series on the Sublime)
The Success and Failure of Fredric Jameson: Writing, the Sublime, and the Dialectic of Critique (Suny Series on the Sublime)
by Steven Helmling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.09

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 20 Aug 2002
In recent years there has been something of an explosion in literature on the subject of Fredric Jameson, and in my opinion this book is the most lucid and most interesting to date. The author is the only I have read to undertake an account of Jameson and the 'failure imperative' on his own terms and at the same level as Jameson. Particularly interesting were the comparisons the author made with Terry Eagleton (but see the journal "Postmodern Culture" for more of that). Well worth a read, but be warned that it is at times difficult to read (like Jameson himself) and demands a good working knowledge of critical theory in general and Marxism in particular. It is, however, rewarding, and can certainly help shed some light on the problems posed by the construction of a critical theory today. If you're after an introduction to Jameson, then I'd recommed "Fredric Jameson" by Adam Roberts (in the Routledge Critical Thinkers series) or, pitched at a slightly higher level, "Fredric Jameson" by Sean Homer.


Marxism and Form: 20th-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature
Marxism and Form: 20th-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature
by Fredric Jameson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 19 Aug 2002
This is a great book. It can serve both as an introduction to the thinkers listed and as an extremely high-level and original interpretation of them. The only problem is that Jameson's now infamous 'dialectical sentences' make it somewhat difficult to read, but the hard work at understanding that they (intentionally) demand is well worth it.


Hegel
Hegel
by Charles Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £34.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Hegel, 19 Aug 2002
This review is from: Hegel (Paperback)
While this is indeed an excellent introduction to Hegel (by far the best I've seen and definately worth the money); I was a good deal less impressed by Taylor's attempt to mix critique in with his exposition of Hegel's texts. For the most part he refrains from doing so, but I found that it severely impinged upon the coherence of the book at some points (most notably the first section on the Logic). He also seems, during his final chapter, to jump to conclusions about one of Hegel's followers, Marx: he bases his criticisms solely on one of Marx's works (at his own admission) and generalises therefrom - surely not the most sound way of proceeding. Whilst Taylor is by no means a Heideggerian appropriator of Hegel (as the previous review indicates), I felt that he jumped a little to eagerly at the chance to take a side swipe at Marx. Also, many of his criticisms of Hegel came from a more analytic philosophical standpoint, a factor that did not exactly aid comprehension (since it clashed sharply with the continental brand of thought he was exposing).
Having said all that, however, I would not hesitate to recommend the book since it is by far and away the best and most coherent exposition of Hegel's views on the market.


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