- Hardcover: 372 pages
- Publisher: OUP UK (1 Sept. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198752776
- ISBN-13: 978-0198752776
- Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.5 x 16.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,343,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Rise of Modern Philosophy (A New History of Western Philosophy, Vol. 3) Hardcover – 1 Sep 2006
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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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Top Customer Reviews
It is difficult to decide which star rating to give to a book which deals with the history of philosophy or religion, because one can distinguish at least three factors which affect the rating: first, the ACCURACY of the ACCOUNT given by the book's author (call him A) of the views of those people whom he is discussing; secondly, the ASSESSMENT by A of the philosophical or theological MERIT of the VIEWS of those whom he is discussing (call them B,C, D, etc.); and thirdly, A's awareness of the EFFECT of the ideas of B, C, D, etc., on the historical events of their day. For example, if A is writing a history of religion in the sixteenth century, he must include not only an account of the theological views of the main actors, but also indicate what he (A) thinks of these views and of the events which they caused or influenced.
Having lived with Kenny's book for several weeks, reading it twice and referring back to it constantly, I think that its exposition of the views of the philosophers whom it discusses (B,C, D, etc.) is a very valuable overview of the period (roughly 1515 to 1841), and would merit a five-star rating. But I am less favourably impressed by Kenny's overall assessment of the merit of these philosophers, and of their
impact on the world around them, and the way they have helped to fashion the world in which we now live. I therefore give Kenny's book a three-star rating overall.
I must continue to talk in seeming generalities. I consider Kenny's book to be a must-read, but with many caveats. It must be read with extreme scepticism, with the ever-present possibility that whichever illustrious philosopher is under discussion may be talking mostly rubbish. To quote Kenny (p.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
On the positive side it is the best single-author overview of Western philosophy of which I am familiar, more readable than Copleston and more evenhanded 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.
On the less positive side, 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. Indeed given the tremendous amount of great thinkers in this period and the limited space available some important thinkers get rather short shrift (e.g. Hegel). Finally, from a physical perspective the paper is glossy, giving it a `fluffy' feel and making it difficult to read it certain lightening conditions (reflection).
Overall, this is a good work by an excellent philosopher. Despite some drawbacks it is a helpful book and I will likely pick up the remaining two volumes.