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Dr M. Smith

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The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance
The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance
Price: £5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Journalistic, 20 Feb. 2017
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If you are looking for a well written journalistic treatment of the history of western philosophy from the Greeks to the Rensaissance, this is probably worth looking at. However, as a serious academic treatment of the topic it contains little that is original and some questionable judgements, particularly in regard, for example, to scholastic philosophy in general and Thomas Aquinas in particular.

There are no footnotes. Quotes are not referenced when used but separately at the end of the book, which seems a little odd.

The book is written very much from a perspective that assumes the validity of popular modernism/postmodernism and it's Enlightenment roots of subjective idealism. I would have liked to see more effort to place ancient philosophy into the context of a conversation with modernity, showing how earlier thinking still poses challenges for the questionable dominant cultural assumptions of our current age.


Life Extension-eye Pressure Support with Mirtogenol, 30 Vegetarian Capsules-2 Bottles
Life Extension-eye Pressure Support with Mirtogenol, 30 Vegetarian Capsules-2 Bottles
Offered by AmericanVitaminSpot
Price: £31.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied, 18 Sept. 2016
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Arrived promptly and as described. Competitively priced. Can't ask for much more.


Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution From the Origin of the Universe
Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution From the Origin of the Universe
Price: £13.67

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed, 30 Aug. 2016
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This is an extremely ambitious book. In it, John Hands attempts to evaluate the extent to which science has been able to provide a credible empirically based account of both the origins of energy and matter, as well as of life in general and humanity in particular.

His conclusions are interesting. These are that science not only has not but, in the light of the empirical evidence that science has amassed and theorised, probably never will be able to, explain completely either of these phenomena. This is for various reasons but primarily, perhaps, because he believes that the empirical data we would require in order to reach properly scientific conclusions, is not available to us. This, he suggests, is because it is lost as a result of the way in which we now understand the Earth to have evolved, such that, for example, key elements of the fossil record has been destroyed. It is also because, in the case of the origins of the universe, from what we now understand, we can see that it is impossible for us to collect empirical data before about 300,000 years after the supposed Big Bang.

I am not a scientist and so would not presume to comment upon the legitimacy or otherwise in scientific terms of John Hands’ analysis of the state of thinking within the respective scientific disciplines to which he turns in search of his answers. I am, though, a trained philosopher, and it is with regard to his treatment of philosophy that I have problems.

Although he presents what seems to be sound reasoning for believing that a good deal of cosmological theorizing is speculative rather than empirically-based, I’m not convinced that it can claimed credibly that such speculative theorizing is metaphysical. It seems to me that metaphysical theorizing is of a higher order of generality.

Further, the shear ambition of John Hands in terms of the variety and volume of thinking that he has tried to address in one book, even if that book contains over 700 pages, means that there is a risk of superficiality in its treatment of some or all of the areas addressed. I don’t know if his treatment of the science falls into this category but I do think his consideration of different philosophical traditions certainly does.

Overall, to me the approach adopted is philosophically naïve. This is because there does not seem to be any recognition that the empiricism that John Hands has clearly embraced, is itself a philosophical and so speculative framework.

This is a problem in at least two ways. Firstly, whenever there is an attempt to say how things are, it is impossible to escape some set of high order speculative or philosophical assumptions. As such, it is not a credible methodology to dismiss the views of others as merely philosophy, if indeed that is what they are, which I doubt as indicated above, and then not to critically evaluate the philosophical assumptions that are inherent within one’s own position.

Secondly, by nailing his colours so uncompromisingly to the flag of empiricism and then failing to evaluate that philosophical position, John Hands provides no answers to its failings.

Having said all this, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to others looking for a wide ranging and provocative read.


Nothing Of Importance. A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion, October 1915 to June 1916
Nothing Of Importance. A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion, October 1915 to June 1916
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing of Importance, 7 Jun. 2016
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A poignant account of life in the trenches by a man who was later killed. A 'must read' for anyone interested in the 1st World War.


Locke (Oneworld Thinkers)
Locke (Oneworld Thinkers)
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, Concise and Insightful, 2 Dec. 2015
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A clear and concise discussion of some of the main ideas developed by Locke, placed in the context of the Scholasticism and Rationalism against which he was arguing. An excellent book, thoroughly recommended.


Betron HDMI Switch, Switcher 3 Port, Gold Connectors, 3D support, HDMI v1.4 for HDTV, PS3, Xbox One, 360, Bluray Player, DVD Player etc (HDMI Switch)
Betron HDMI Switch, Switcher 3 Port, Gold Connectors, 3D support, HDMI v1.4 for HDTV, PS3, Xbox One, 360, Bluray Player, DVD Player etc (HDMI Switch)
Offered by Betron Limited ( VAT Registered)
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 Nov. 2015
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Does the job without fuss and at a reasonable price.


The Cold War
The Cold War
Price: £5.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to the period, 2 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: The Cold War (Kindle Edition)
Excellent overview, easy to read and informative.


Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals
Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals
by John Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straw Dogs, 14 April 2014
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An excellent and perceptive critique of humanist individualism. If reality is devoid of divinity it makes no sense to ascribe value, meaning or significance to anything, including human beings. Needs to be read alongside Ronald Dworkin 'Religion without God' and someone like John Milbank 'Theology and Social Theory: Beyond secular reason'.


The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science (Studies in European History)
The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science (Studies in European History)
by Professor John Henry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of Science, 2 Dec. 2012
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An excellent book for the non-science specialist, with good overview of major figures in the history of science and an outline of the insights they contributed. A good starting point for reading in a structured way in the development of scientific ideas, with a useful bibliography.


Science: A History 1543 - 2001
Science: A History 1543 - 2001
by John Gribbin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Intro, 2 Dec. 2012
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An excellent book for the non-science specialist, with good overview of major figures in the history of science and an outline of the insights they contributed. A good starting point for reading in a structured way in the development of scientific ideas, with a useful bibliography.


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