- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: For Beginners; Reprint edition (Aug. 21 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1934389021
- ISBN-13: 978-8125031680
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.5 x 22.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 322 g
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #514,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Philosophy for Beginners Paperback – Aug 21 2007
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About the Author
Richard Osborne is a philosopher and writer with special interests in Art, Technology and contemporary culture. He is the author of several works including Philosophy For Beginners and Freud For Beginners. Richard Osborne currently teaches art theory and philosophy at the University of the Arts in London.
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This publication is not presenting itself as anything else other than what it is - an overview of western philosophy from the early Greeks to present time. Having some background in philosophy, personally the sections on the Dark Ages, Holy Roman Empire, and the rise of Scholasticism in the first millennia was informative, reminding me of the huge influence St Thomas Aquinas had at the time - his famous 'Summa contra Gentiles', which set out to prove to non Christians, through natural reason, the importance of Chrisianity and the existence of God. Interestingly, the author's at the end of the Aquinas section comment that the explanation concerning the philosopher's thought was a bit "sketchy, but it's only a Beginner's Guide." This was a subtle cue from the author's that this text is in fact only an introduction and not to expect much more.
This book is an appropriate beginning to a vast and complex subject. If this text sparks some interest, the bibliography at the back is divided into Introductory, Advanced and General references, including a few excellent books to read if one plans to pursue the subject further. Osborne et al, have done a terrific job of tackling such a notoriously difficult subject and making it interesting and accessible.
Obviously the challenge for Osborne is to present something meaningful and intelligible about various thinkers and schools of thought in such a brief survey. And he does so in a way that is both fair, based on my knowledge, and refreshingly humorous. Even as a "not quite" beginner I found this little book enlightening.
There are a few caveats. First, this is very much a survey of Western philosophy, which is not immediately clear from the title. Little attention is paid to other philosophic traditions. Second, some of the discussion of current thinkers is difficult to follow. But it is my sense that this has more to do with the complexity of what those thinkers are attempting and our lack of distance from their thinking. No doubt in a hundred years we will be able to do a better job of presenting what seems today to be plethora of different thinkers and approaches. But there is no reason to wait when you can get started with this fun little book.
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