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3.8 out of 5 stars
11
Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey
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on 12 January 2018
This book is more for the student of philosophy than the general reader. It is however the only good, readable book I have found covering modern philosophy, and I have certainly enjoyed dipping into chapters rather than reading the book in total.
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on 17 November 2013
Scruton offers a quick yet effective analysis of modern philosophy in this book.
Ideas and philosophers are presented effectively and in a very interesting way.
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on 3 April 2017
This book is a lengthy and detailed review of modern philosophy and is generally recommendable. However, there are aspects of Roger Scrutton's approach which grate slightly. As an example, I will discuss the treatment of Karl Popper who gets a brief mention and who's philosophy I am familiar with.
Scrutton's first line reads: "For a variety of good and bad reasons it is difficult to ignore the name of Popper, ....". This lofty and superior manner is rather irritating. I know that the good reasons for mentioning Popper are that he is widely followed and respected by scientists and others. But what are the bad reasons? No explanation is given. We are supposed to take Scrutton's judgement on trust.
Popper believed it was almost a moral obligation for philosophers (and other intellectuals) to write as clearly as possible avoiding the kind of pompous incomprehensible prose so favoured by Hegel and post-modern followers. Roger Scrutton's writing is certainly well ahead of the pompous brigade but could be presented in simpler language.
Lastly, the presentation of Popper's ideas (which Scrutton clearly does not accept) is inaccurate. It is not the case that Popper saw the failure to find a refutation of a theory as the best guarantee of it's truth. Popper did not believe in any guarantee of a theory's truth. Neither did Popper believe that the method of conjecture and refutation has led to true hypotheses in the past and will therefore lead to true hypotheses in the future. He believed exactly what Scrutton asserts two lines later (thinking that he is refuting Popper) that "the evidence will always be insufficient to prove them [scientific hypotheses]". In addition, Popper did not believe (as Scrutton asserts) in a simple dichotomy between science and pseudo-science.
So, I am left wondering just how accurate is Scrutton's presentation of other philosphers.
Perhaps he has tried to be too comprehensive to give an accurate account of the whole of modern philosophy.
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on 21 January 2016
I found this to be a useful introduction to Philosophy. There are a number of publications which seek to do the same sort of thing the structure and content matter make this a good way to engage with the concepts and ideas at a basic level and in more detailed study if required.
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on 1 February 2009
An excellent book. Promptly delivered at a good price. I strongly recommend this book if you want a reasonable level of understanding of philosophical thought since Descartes. It includes references to other works for continued study.
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on 7 July 2012
This book provides an outline of the whole subject of philosophy in the Anglo-American analytical tradition - from ethics to quantum mechanics via truth, perception, logic, the self, death and the Devil.

It was developed from a series of lectures delivered at London and Boston Universities. Reading it makes one feel like a student at a top university where, for whatever reason, Philosophy 101 is taught in person by the head of department, who just happens to be on first-name terms with philosophers like Tom Nagel.

At the end of the book there is a Study Guide to direct the student to further reading.

I do not know why this book is so hard to find on Amazon. I got my public library to purchase the copy I have just read - their previous copy of the work having been borrowed permanently by a reader.
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on 7 November 2004
This book is the ideal preparation for reading the great philosophers. Defining philosophy as abstract and ultimate with an interest in truth, Scruton presents difficult topics with extraordinary clarity. He lives up to his aim of expressing the problems of the head in the language of the heart: reading this I felt that it spoke directly to my heart, something that I have never experienced with any other book. The fact that he is a fox-hunting Tory doesn't put me off at all. I found some of the examples rather charming: Scruton asks us to consider the proposition 'I am in pain'. This is one of my favorite books, second only to 'Care of the Soul' by Thomas Moore.
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on 27 June 2015
For many years the layman's guide to philosophy was Bertran Russell's History of Western Philosophy but that role has now been taken over by Roger Scruton's excellent work Modern Philosophy. It is recommended as essential reading, and rereading, for anyone seriously interested in acquiring a good basic understanding of how philosophy has evolved through the ages and how it stands today.
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on 1 July 2004
Readers have to distinguish Scruton's Tory views from the philosophy at times; however the book is invaluable for those wishing to get a perspective on the whole contemporary range of academic philosophy in one rather large but very digestible serving. He not only explains the most important themes in present-day Anglo-American philosophy but continually steps back to situate each part within the context of the whole.
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on 9 October 2013
This collection of essays reflects Popper's interests in the pre-Soceatic philosophers as well as in the theory of knowledge. The ten essays range from Parmenides to 'The unkown Xenophanes to 'Plato and Geometry'. All are interesting, put the would-be purchaser would be well advised to avoid the Kindle edition. This is because it faiks to include Popper's own Table of Contents so that chasers after a particular essay will have great difficulty in finding it. A table of contents is an integral part of any book, and should never be omitted.
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