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Distinct moments in the formation of american legal system are pointed and explained in this short book. The historical landscape and its reflections in the law are explained in order to give the reader a comprehensive view of the field. With sections about natives tribes’ law, African-American traditions and distinct patterns of colonizations in America with its law developments, the book provides useful informations. Amazing overview. Readable introduction. Profitable reading.
This brief history of the mild hallucinogen marijuana is written by John Hudak who researched the drug and has written an accurate acc of how it has been misrepresented for political and racist purposes since the early 20th century. Now, as we are well into the 21st century, marijuana still sits beside heroin and other risky drugs as a Schedule 1 drug. Makes one wonder why such a medically useful drug is still being misrepresented. Political and racist motives?!I would have given this small book five stars except it may not be the most exciting book you will ever read, but it will surely begin your eyes to the machinations of those who have something to gain by keeping a medically useful drug where it clearly doesn't belong.I suggest that you research marijuana (cannabis) yourself. Several states have approved its use for medical and recreational use. Meanwhile, such truly risky drugs like alcohol and tobacco can be bought at your corner grocery store. This proves that propaganda works. The moral here is that you must never create a judgment without first determining for yourself if it's real or this small book by a respected researcher to see the truth. The truth will set you free...if we can just vote the enemies out of office.
Perfect book with a lot of facts. Should be needed reading in high school. This book, besides showing that cannabis is not the evil plant that politicians created it out to be (the medical community has repeatedly shown that it is not an evil, but a medically useful plant), explains how a few politicians with an agenda can mislead an uneducated public. The book shows how a few racist people in politically necessary positions can ruin the lives of a lot of people in their racist pursuits.
A must read for everyone. After this, read "Smoke Signals: A Social History Of Marijuana" by Martin Lee. You start to understand that cannabis is a political weapon for greed and profit by drug cartels, law enforcement, lawyers, personal prisons. No one has ever died of an overdose of pot. Legalize it. Grow up American. And, I do not use.
Casual read in about 1-2 week's time. A neatly organized, remarkably neutral yet engaging digest on one of today's most politically-charged hot button issues. Hudak expertly navigates the rich historical nuances of cannabis without getting lost in the weeds along the way.
Silverstein's monograph is a fairly fast read, and well worth the effort. The history is rather sparse, as the title implies, but it makes a nice companion to something more detailed like Berkey's "The Formation of Islam." Well-written throughout, value comes particularly in the analysis and insight developed in the later chapters and conclusion, though some may search it "controversial." Highly recommended.
This was a decent intro to Islamic history from a Western historian's point of view. Most books about Islam that are written by Western scholars tend to be overly critical (in my opinion). Generally I prefer to read an anthropologist's take on Islamic problems if I'm to read a piece written from a non-Muslim, simply because they are less biased. I took a possibility with this one, and found it to still be beautiful good.
Silverstein, an Oxford professor, writes with the clarity and simplicity that I would love to emulate. His exquisite style makes reading this complex history much easier than it might be in less capable hands. As for the accuracy of his historical account, I have no basis for judgment. Nevertheless, I would recommend this slight volume to anyone seeking a brief introduction to Islam. A amazing counterweight and a book I highly recommend is Timothy Gianotti's "In the Light of a Blessed Tree: Illuminations of Islamic Belief, Practice, and History," another wonderfully clear and incisive brief study of Islam, written by a former Catholic, now a Muslim. Gianotti's book contains autobiographical info describing how he came to Islam.
The Book is so simple to understand and provides a unbelievable gateway into the importance and history of Islamic religion and society. By giving historical background, the author clarifies the reasons and meanings behind 20th and 21st century events. There are a lot of maps, photos, and short excerpts included in the book so readers can easily understand what the author is explaining.
This book is valuable not only for a historical overview of Islamic tradition, but for the insightful latest chapter on current Islam and globe perception of it. This book is respectful of the religion while being forthright about some of the less beautiful parts of its history. The style of the book is very accessible... some scholars may say it is too broad and not deep enough, but it met my needs... I may wish to read a multi-volume work in Islam in the future, but not this weekend.
Most people are surprised that I am reading a book on Islam written by a westerner, that too, being a Muslim myself. But this is a very honest summary of the cultural and historical impact and importance of Islam. Its a very honest assessment and it got me hooked on Islamic history so much that I couldnt stop browsing the net for two weeks, scouring for more info. Very informative and provides several arguments and counter arguments, so that you can decide for yourself.
Before reading this book, i really know nothing about the islamic is book greatly support you have an overall understading of the entire islamic globe history.If you wish to learn something about the islamic world. You should test this book first!
It's sometimes a difficult slog, but that's because the history of Islam is long and very convoluted. It's important reading for those who want to have a deeper understanding of Islam. He proves points throughout the book then sums them up at the end. Clear and as concise as can be to do justice to a history most westerners have almost no knowledge of.
Small more emphasis on historiography itself than I expected. Seemed aimed at a somewhat specialized readership. More analytic than synthetic -- and the latter is what I expect from these Very Short Introductions. Worth reading, nevertheless.
The author states it well, Critical Theory is “a systematic assault on systematic thinking”, an alternative to the mainstream thinking so as to illuminate the hidden sources of repression and conditions of false ontology. Critical Theory is an alternative to the otherwise dominant philosophical paradigms that decay into ideologies owing to their hidden social biases that make unalterable categories for interpreting reality. Critical Theory uncovers hidden assumptions and presumed truth conditions. For example, the finding that enlightenment and progress are not enough to prevent barbarism for as David Hume knew so well, reason becomes the slave of the passions – technological advance is not the same as human rational beliefs were not destroyed by the Enlightenment, they merely reemerged disguised into the modern world. Critical Theory lays bar such paradoxes as the standardized personality which amounts to individuation without individuality. This is the alienation of subjectivity, where the topic drops out of subjectivity. Ultimately, Critical Theory is built upon the amazing Socratic tradition of questioning conventional wisdom, critiquing fixed systems of thought and subjecting accepted social norms to rational scrutiny. It is an aesthetic-philosophical form of critique. It uncovers hidden cultural assumptions and social bias preventing transformative possibilities. Hence, negation and the power of negative thinking is the only method to combat the conditions of false ontology and clarify the often obscure but true ideologies our institutions tend to hold ilosophy must answer to current changes. Critical Theory retains the critical way of Marxism while jettisoning the historical determinism and systemic claims to economic theory as well as the rigid political ideology while offering no teleological guarantees. Critical Theory, a powerful dose of which is required today as we enter the post-humanist era, is an eminently employable multi-disciplinary intellectual speculative approach to social commentary and cultural criticism. Critical Theory compels us to reexamine once thought settled problems from various perspectives and to reconsider the dictates of accepted arguments and rationality. The key concepts are alienation (resulting from the extreme division of labor needed by modern techniques of production and service) and reification (resulting from people becoming instrumentalized cogs in the machine). Critical Theory rescues thinking from pure mechanical and calculative reduction and aesthesis from bland standardization. In light of Auschwitz, it asks us to reconsider the promise of progress and face its prevarications; it also shows that promised utopian dreams from both the right and left effect in totalitarian nightmares. All universal claims to totality are to be subjected to the highest scrutiny. Critical Theory is not limited to economics, politics or any constructed human discipline, it is about the human e culture industry (standardized culture leading to standardized people), the identification of which is the most popular outcome of Critical Theory, succeeds not by merely appealing to the lowest common denominator, but by reducing the lowest common denominator to a fresh low in order to maximize commercial value. As Horkheimer identified, the amazing danger is that liberalism and extreme ideology (communism, fascism) can be conflated since they each include elements of bureaucratic administration, standardization, control, hierarchy, subservience, propaganda and/or marketing, mass culture, division of labor with mechanized productions, complex calculative analysis, huge data etc. It only takes a little degree of slippage to move from a tolerable liberal paradigm to intolerable extreme architype. Horkheimer knew that totalitarianism could affect both ends of the political spectrum.With Critical Theory, we can look at capitalism without making overly broad generalizations in our desire to condemn its excesses and shortfalls. I believe that Critical Theory shows us that socialism has been defeated in the realm of ideas but continues to live on as a walking dead ideological zombie, but that capitalism is also riddled with wholes and issues too numerous to list. However, it is a mistake is to see capitalism as an ideology. Capitalism is not and ‘-ism. It is just a label that we use to describe what happens naturally when human beings are turned loose onto nature, with scarce resources, to fend for their survival. In other words, capitalism is just what people do. In this sense, the roots of what we call capitalism are anthropological. Reality itself is disappointing, this is the true human tragedy. Hierarchy, exploitation, mass culture, division of labor and inequitably seem to arise each time the human experiment is run. One of the contradictions of social life brought on by this process is the logic of scarcity being imposed upon an economy of is often the case when leveling social criticism, over generalizations are made. For example, it is too simple to offer a critique of the, “…repression and alienation emended with Western civilization.” Too often, this reduces to a stale criticism of capitalism without delineating between differing variants or manifestations of capitalism, e.g., the neoliberal dozens or the social democratic variety. A more critical look at capitalism reveals at least two various modes. Neoliberalism is a form of capitalism, but there can also be social democratic form of capitalism, a capitalism with a various ethic (the tournament ethic vs the cooperation ethic, for example). That is, both neoliberalism and social democracy are built upon a capitalism base but yield various social outcomes. In the absence of Critical Theory, the slippage into a post-humanist globe should really come as no surprise.A Critical look at Critical Theory:The author points out that the Frankfurt School thinkers, brilliant though they are and were, fail to take acc of the redemptive and emancipatory hero of the Enlightenment. They fail to recognize the positive transformation brought about by Enlightenment thinking. We should not forget that it was Enlightenment thinking from which our notions of human rights, tolerance, science, representation, liberty, equality etc. arose. It was the thinkers of the Enlightenment that stood versus the exercise of arbitrary power, and religious dogmatism which contains the handmaidens of religion: myth, irrationality, cruelty, superstation and dominance. The Enlightenment replaced parochialism with cosmopolitanism, intuition with reason, tradition with skepticism and authority with liberty. The author lists several points of the Enlightenment legacy still relevant:1. An affinity with anti-authoritarian movements2. The embrace critical thinking3. Fostering pluralism, autonomy and tolerance4. Building the wall of separation between religion and public lifeCritical Theory itself is a product of the Enlightenment and, in keeping with Enlightenment thinking, it is critical of the Enlightenment patrimony though this irony seems to have escaped the Frankfurt School thinkers. Critical Theory must abandon a one-sided analysis of mass culture from the perspective of resistance. That is, for Critical Theory to remain relevant and employable, it must interrogate itself in light of the lasting legacy of the Enlightenment. There is an increasing need for Critical Theory given the post-humanist paradigm in which we search ourselves. One in which the contradictions of social life in the neo-liberal paradigm have brought us calamities such as the 2008 financial crisis, the a lot of abuses of power, corruption of politic, and the distortion of economic. Critical Theory can support us understand why people live under bridges, beg on the streets, and lack medical care amidst a time and put of unprecedented wealth and the amazing will on the part of many.
Professor Bronner knows how to write plain easy English but he has chosen to write this book in unintelligible technical jargon and not to explain a single concept he describes. Thus, even when the individual words are intelligible, declarative sentences are no linked by an understandable argument or logic. Here's an example:"Solidarity, like resistance, thus takes a fresh metaphysical form. The logic of historical materialism immanently insists upon such a change" Here's another:"Critical theory originally confronted orthodox Marxism by severing the inquiry into society from the inwuiry into nature. Treating instrumental rationality in terms of epistemological formalism, however, undermines that distinction."The book may be very short, but it is not an Introduction, but a review or summary for Upperclassmen majoriing in Politics or post-graduate students.
Read this book and you too can be hailed as a genius for insisting that the totally administered society, the culture industry, and the performance principle must be subjected to negative dialectics, in order to emancipate the satisfied consciousness from alienation and reification, thereby ushering in a new, authentic subjectivity. Should anyone challenge you and claim you are talking nonsense, simply smile and pat them on the back, remarking that the beauty of critical theory is its capacity for perpetual renewal via radical self-critique.
This was a excellent addition to my library. I'm in a higher education doctoral program and much of my research leans on critical theory. This book briefly broke down the history and contemporary ideas about critical theory. I while recommend this to any student that needs a fast method to grasp this theory without reading heady articles.
Like most of OUP's A Very Short Introduction series, this volume does a amazing job. It introduces the Frankfurt School of Thought, that School's major figures and that School's influence on the study of critical theory. This volume is well written and provides a short reading list for exploring subjects in greater detail. Given the turmoil that the study of critical theory has experienced over the past twenty years--its anticipated demise as an influence on intellectual thought and the speculation as to what might take its place--it's significant that this volume is now in its second edition. What that significance may mean I'm not entirely sure as I'm no longer involved in academic endeavors so I'll leave that question for you to ponder.
While Bronner skillfully outlines the major evolutions of the field of Critical Theory from its inception as a critique of historical materialism to its fragmentation into myriad critical theories in the '80s and '90s, and describes the philosphical lines of force traced by the thinkers of the Frankfurt School, his exposition of these admittedly complex ideas is often confused, and his jargon-filled explanations are anything but, defeating the purpose of an introduction for the unititiated. Bronner's editor at Oxford UP may also be partially to blame, since a lot of of the most puzzling sentences in the book are created even more opaque through numerous typographical errors (missing periods and words, commas used in put of periods, strange spacing choices). Despite the glimmer of a handful of insightful commentaries of seminal critical theoretical works and well-wrough turns of phrase, the curious reader may have problem locating truly lucid and digestible presentations of a lot of tenets of critical theory.
Very interested in art criticism and in turn social critique as seen regularly in The Fresh Yorker. Funny how I became aware of Critical Theory by watching the "Shameless" series on HBO. This book offers a amazing historical overview with a lot of disparate views for uses of this particular field. Art criticism has been advanced by David Salle and revisiting Pragmatism. The study of Critical Theory is useful for a greater appreciation of art and its usefulness for the greater amazing at a time when art has become overly commoditized with the absurdity of hedge fund managers becoming artists.
This book, actually more of a long pamphlet, reads surprisingly well. In my case I started with the mathematical appendix, since I can't really understand anything in physics without attaching it to at least a sprinkling of math. Once I could see how his terms were relative to the simplified ver of the math he presented in the appendix everything kind of fell into place. There is just the slightest homeopathic amount of math to create the reader feel virtuous, but not enough to intoxicate them.Kudos to Polkinghorne for his brief introductory history at the beginning of the book. This paragraph is a tangent based on my reading of that section. Which has nothing to do with quantum theory except that you have to some understanding of classical mechanics and optics to understand where quantum mechanics starts. I'd developed a general interest in this topic after studying the theories behind the patterns I'd seen in a single half slit device, the Foucalt tester, used during the polishing of a telescope mirror. So if could compare the level of this book with books on that subject, the level is 'junior hobbyist level', not what you'd see in a college course but not junior high level either. (Junior high level is really hard to determine since I figured my first mirror in the eighth grade.) I'd suppose an equivalent level book on the topic of mirror testing would be David Habour's introduction "Understanding Foucalt".The reader interested in really looking at the topic should instead look at the Quantum Mechanics course offerings from the online MITOpenCourseWare site. Or they can buy this book when their family member asks for a brief explanation of what they learn in those courses.
This book is billed as "A Very Short Introduction" to quantum theory but, in fact, it's no introduction at all! The author tosses out a number of ideas from quantum theory but fails to explain them in any meaningful way. This makes the book really more appropriate as a review for people who've already studied this in the past and makes the book entirely unsuited to those who would like to learn something about this for the very first time. As an example, we have,"The principal difference between a particle and a field is that the former has only a finite number of degrees of freedom (independent ways in which its state can change), while a field has an infinite number of degrees of freedom."which is simply stated without any explanation whatsoever of why it might happen to be real or what those degrees of freedom might happen to be. The subsequent discussion then proceeds from this statement and is entirely inpenetratable without having first understood this merous examples of this create this book entirely unsuited for those fresh to this subject. The book is only appropriate for those who have already understood the topic and, for some reason, need a brief refresher that happens to skip all of the math (a rather little audience, I would suspect).
How it all really went down. Awesome thing about this book is that it is perfect in its pedagogy (teaching you the concepts) while AT THE VERY SAME TIME not creating a fairy-tale story -- not simplifying things as if each question was pursued only in a nice orderly textbook-style fashion. So the book teaches you quantum theory VERY effectively BUT ALSO teaches you how science really goes down. And yet: the book is not the least bit confusing. Not even the least small bit. If anybody ever thought you just had to make a fairy tale to be able to teach lay persons a science field at all well, then this book proves a counter-example to that contention. You can indeed teach both the concepts and present how science (and scienTISTS) developed without confusing your reader. Thus YOU, the review reader, can buy this book for either or both reasons: learning quantum theory or learning of how it really went down. Either or both, you'll search your book in this one. And the detail is not all that sparse. Fairly thorough.
Rather than a text on the nitty gritty of the math, this book frames quantum theory in the stream of modern thought. I found it extremely helpful in developing an understanding of the depth of impact that quantum theory has created on our understanding right up to serious ontological questions. Well written, clear, insightful.
A very amazing and readable introduction to quantum theory. The book will prove challenging to a lot of readers, especially the second half, in which the author gets beautiful technical, even for a short introduction. However, the technical info are important to adequately deal with this very necessary theory which uses some sophisticated mathematics as an essential element.
A text written by a real master who brings the explanations and discussions of the foundations of quantum physics to a fresh level in famous books. You won't easily search elsewhere the same level of depth and broad understanding of science nor of the a lot of conceptual puzzles that quantum physics bring to us. as you search here. A must read not only for those interested in science and physics but also to those interested in a understanding of the nature of our world.
This book is amazing for people seeking a primary view of Quantum theory. Polkinghorne has an simple to read style of writing and is able speak in terms a layman will easily understand. There is some mathematics in this book but it is nothing any undergraduate could not grasp. I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to know what Quantum Theory is all about.
I am a Pollkinghome fan. So I have fun his writings and search them understandable. ********WARNING, WARNING, WARNING******** For those of us that wear glasses: don't buy the physical book.. The font is VERY, VERY small. I understand this was done to hold the books cheap. But if you wear glasses, it is a huge eye strain.
Quantum mechanics is a difficult subject, and most college courses don't really explain how the mathematics envolved really relates to the physical phenomena. This book gives an perfect qualitative explanation of the subject, and is an excellent, non-mathematical overview of it. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the subject.
An perfect short intro as the title mentions. It probably needs some familiarity with school physics. Two things I liked best about the book. First, it contains not only the science, but also briefly the history of how it did develop. Secondly, the latest chapter, which tried to address the meaning of quantum mechanics. One of the best books as an entry to this field for non-experts.
Look, if you're getting this book it is because you're taking a class somewhere. Likely, you're taking this class because you have to fulfill some oddball requirement that likely isn't relevant to anything you care about in your degree at doesn't mean the book isn't informative. If you actually take the time to read it, you will search that the "direction" of the book is pointing out the impact of geopolitical happenings on different art forms and styles and how happenings of the times dictated the direction of a lot of artists. Often times the book will spend half a page talking about the intricacies of a specific piece of art but will NOT provide you anything to see what they are talking about. Its a shame really. This book is best used in conjunction with the internet so you can actually read up on some of their glossed over subjects and see the works in detail that they attempt to describe but fail to show.
I required this book for my Art 110 Class. It arrived on time but as for the product it was beautiful worn, not unusable but definitely in ok to fair condition, lots of bends in the cover, also there was someone elses paperwork inside so i am guessing they dont have time to go through as understandable to obtain all the papers out. I half expected a better condition which is for the lower rating but so far no pages missing so that's not poor and i can read it so it will serve its purpose.
I've read several art history books including several editions of Janson, and every book has it's strengths. But Janson is still my favorite. The photos are large, the text is concise, historical context is provided, and you learn how to read art. Art has a vocabulary and Janson explains it best.
My review was much, much longer but Amazon refused to [email protected]#$%! for some reason. So here is a short review instead!If you are one of the million who commute by public transportation, this is the excellent carry along. The pictures are particularly attractive and his narrative of the short history of the motorcycle is both engaging and entertaining. He clearly has amazing affection for James May as he insults him every now and then (a general means by which the male of our species, homo sapiens, proclaims affection, if not love or respect or both, for the same sex) making you feel as though you are watching a classic episode of Top Gear, but only better because this time it's about motorcycles. Whilst I think that Hammond could have developed certain subjects further, inevitably the book is a coffee table book written out of a genuine love for motorcycles and not some desire to educate the globe vis a vis a doctoral program at a distinguished British university. If it were, I'd be signing up for my PhD today! No, Richard Hammond's love of motorcycles is infectious and genuine. He didn't write this book to create money, he doesn't need too. He is rich. Rather, it's clear that the book is a giant love letter to the motorcycle as a whole itself including how it has shaped his own life and the lives of millions of other bikers in all their forms, be they part of the 99%'r or even 1%'r crowds. Thus, whilst the title of the book is not technically misleading, a more suitable title would have been something along the lines of Richard Hammond's Love of Motorcycles or better yet Ode To Motorcycles: A Love Letter By Richard Hammond. Either way, it's a fun small read that will leave you wanting to search out more about different aspects of motorcycle history, marques and generally anything to do with two wheels. There's nothing more to say other than "that'll do Hamster, that'll do.
My husband and I are amazed at how much information, complete with nuances, is included in this short history of Russia. We are planning a trip to Russia and wanted background info to support us obtain more out of the trip. This book really fits the bill.
Ascher's "Russia: A Short History" is a amazing choice to obtain acquainted with Russian history. I didn't know much of Russia's story except as it relates to the Globe Battles and the Cold War. This book provides a masterful overview of the Russian state from it's inception till Vladimir Putin's government. The text is entertaining and simple to read. Ascher does a amazing job of providing sufficient detail without overloading the reader's brain.
It took a while before I finally finished "The History of Western Philosophy." There is a lot of history and Bertrand Russell covers a lot of history very quickly and briefly and still the book is 900 pages thick. That said, it was well written and not too hard to read. The hardest for me was to hold track of all the relationships explained. To truly understand all of them, I'd need to read it a couple more mmarizing "The History of Western Philosophy" is not possible in a book review and I won't attempt it. One necessary subject in this book is that it is as much "history" as "Philosophy" Thus at the times where there was less necessary contributions to the field of philosophy, the author still summarizes the history that happened and how that influenced later philosophers. In fact, how the history influenced philosophy and how philosophy influenced history is a key theme throughout the book. Russell shows has they are intertwined and caused each e book has three huge parts (each about 300 pages). They are 1) Ancient (mostly Greek) Philosophy, 2) Catholic Philosophy, and 3) Modern Philosophy. The book is chronological with sometimes forward references and a lot of backward references. Of all the philosophies, most of the time is spend on the Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle philosophies as their influence is so huge. Even though Bertrand Russell is quite critical of them and considers them overvalued... I guess he contributes to that by focusing on it much again :) That said, it is also a central theme that Bertrand Russell is not shy whatsoever to give his own opinion about the philosophies, changing his book partly to the philosophies of Bertrand Russell. That also means that if you are looking for a neutral summary of philosophers, then this book is not it. The opinions of the author did probably created the book more readable and accessible as it is at times as if he joins the philosophical discussion... except that the other philosophers are not able to argue back to Bertrand Russell. Unfair...I thoroughly enjoyed the History of Western Philosophy. It was thorough in breath though sometimes shallow in depth. That caused me to learn a large amount about history and the role of philosophy. For anyone interested in that and not bothered by the lack of neutrality, this book is highly recommended. For people looking for a practical book, this is not it.
We are in 1946, Russell is building the chain of ideas pushing civilization to the current state. His erudition is profound but he is biased. And that's what makes this book so good. The Russell historian is using at least three hats as mathematician, English citizen and philosopher himself. The former is by far the most entertaining and edifying. For example, the mathematician starts boldly picking Pythagoras as the most necessary thinker ever. Although nuts, Pythagoras wrote the first mathematical proof. "Q.E.D.". And then he goes over the centuries digging up inconsistencies within the thinking frameworks being discussed. This is particularly rewarding if we did our homework and read the books he is discussing. Seems that civilization needs much more of this "curiosity to understand the world" which is all over the put within this book. And Russell shows a consistent path towards progress.
This was a truly spectacular book and I rate it a solid 5 stars. I liked it much more than Will Durant’s acclaimed The Story of Philosophy, and equally as much as Leonard Peikoff’s History of Philosophy lectures.I like to think of this book as “a history of Western thought.” Russell profiles and summarizes every philosopher and philosophical movement from Thales to John Dewey and his own school of logical analysis. Each chapter was clear and interesting. I found Kant, Hegel, and Bergson less clear than other chapters, but that may just be because those philosophers themselves are hard to ssel didn’t just report on how ideas changed and impacted society, he also explained the history and workings of society in each period. I found this especially helpful for the first book about ancient philosophy and the second about the medieval ages. I also really loved how detailed Russell was in his analysis and retelling of the history of the Church. All of that was completely fresh to me, and I didn’t know how much I was missing by not delving into Church history!Also, I gotta say, his chapters on Rousseau, Berkeley, and Byron were exceptional. I loved the letters exchanged between Rousseau and Voltaire (I literally laughed out loud reading them). Berkeley was clearer than he’s ever been before. And even though I was never interested in Byron previously, Russell intrigued me with his description of him. I’ve already added some of his poems to my Kindle to check out!Usually long books annoy me. This one didn’t. Every sentence felt absolutely necessary, and I was often left with wanting to know more about each figure, idea, and period!Russell occasionally injected his opinion or brought up inconsistencies within the philosophies he was describing, but not nearly enough for my tastes. It was always very obvious when he was commenting as himself and when he was describing or speaking for the philosopher he was writing about though, which was great.Overall, this was an perfect survey of Western philosophy. It was amazing as an introduction to the ideas of these thinkers, as well as a “history of Western thought” like I mentioned at the beginning of this review. If you wish something that goes deeper into the philosophies of some of these thinkers, check out Leonard Peikoff’s History of Philosophy. If you’re more interested in the history aspect, you can check out Will Durant’s Story of Philosophy. (I think Russell’s book is complimentary yet slightly superior to Durant’s.)I highly recommend this book, and the Audible ver narrated by Jonathan Keeble.
Bertrand Russell wrote A History of Philosophy with posterity in mind. Written during the exigencies of the Second Globe War, Russell gives preponderance to the history of philosophy in the West. From the pre-Socratics to John Dewey, Russell chronicles Western philosophy with inimitable analysis, wit and passion. It's not exhaustive by any means, but as a one volume treatment of philosophical culture in the West, it's beautiful much perfect. Russell, more than anything else, was a amazing reformer and thought education to be essential to our species. Russell abhorred the orthodoxy of higher education as a system reserved only for the arcane and the privileged; philosophy was something to be cherished and openly exchanged, free from impunity and social barriers. Russell's judicious balance of erudition and accessibility shows on every page. The only time it feels arrhythmic is when Russell conflates the political dynamism of his era with the days of antiquity. Reference to this can be found in his synthesis of Rousseau/Hitler or Locke/Churchill. Other than that, I have no qualms with Russell's illustration of philosophy in the West. Russell also has the potential to positively surprise you, as well. Those I expected to be cannon fodder (Hobbes, Rousseau, Hegel, Mill, Marx, etc.) are reviewed with considerable objectivity and restraint. Russell clearly prioritizes certain systems over others, logic and empiricism, for example, elicit greater intellectual stimulus than, say, metaphysics. This isn't to suggest that Russell's preferences suspend his ability to cogently and consistently define the changes in epistemology, just an observation that he's not detached in the same method that defines the body of academic writing. It also has to be said that the text is a very handy reference point for any student of philosophy. This is an perfect one volume treatment of Western philosophy written by a brilliant man, who clearly respected his readers enough not to cloak his work in impenetrable prose. Highly recommended.
I had been seeking an overall history of philosophy and this one is fantastic! I almost didn't order it because not only is it more than 800 pages but it was also written in 1945 -- I thought it would be a slog to obtain through, since I'm not an academic and never went to college. Rest assured it is NOT a slog! This is a phenomenally simple book to read, the writing style is clear and smooth and modern. I'm only half method through and learning SO much; now I understand why sometimes when I was reading books on religion or science or even history, I would feel like I got dropped in the middle of an on-going conversation and I was left out in the cold. Brilliant book.
This is a beautiful awesome compendium of Western Philosophy. I have one negative critique. There are locations where Professor Russell uses a quote and then does not say from what book the quote originates, nor is there a footnote. Of course, the quote is from the current philosopher that Professor Russell is discussing. But, once quoted, say Hegel, then the quote is not footnoted. I like to know the exact book and page of the quote. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful awesome book. The first third of the book deals with the Greeks, of course. I liked the chapters on Nietzsche and Marx the best. I know these two thinkers well, yet still learned some fresh information about them. For me, the most interesting idea in this book is the link between the Romantics, specifically Rousseau and Byron, to Hegel, to (of course) Nietzsche and the Fascism that engulfed Europe just years before this book was published. Also, the Empiricist of England (Locke the most prominent) fractured into two groups, one which produced countries like the USA and another which produced a country like the now defunct USSR. It's very interesting. A lot of philosophy books are not accessible to the layman like myself because of the obscurantist writing style of the professional university philosopher. For example, I tried to read Hegel's "Logic" years ago but only understood maybe 30 percent of what I read. Here, I understood a amazing 85 percent. Russell writes in a colloquial style that the every-day-person can grasp. However, there are some passages that will create you feel like your brain is going to explode. But again, if you are "into" philosophy, this is a amazing book. I was disappointed that there was no chapter on Kierkegaard.
I'm almost 40 and I've been mildly curious about philosophy throughout my adult life. Unfortunately, I had yet to read anything meaningful about it, because all the previous attempts to educate myself were thwarted by the pretentiousness of all the authors I had tried to read on the topic; I suspect one can't be accepted in this field if they speak like human beings.History of Western Philosophy, however, is different: even non-experts can read this introductory book! How awesome is that? On top of that, Russell has a delicious whimsical side to him, which transpires in this book just enough for the occasional comic relief. Although an atheist himself, he does present the important formal reverence to religious matters as avoid offending anyone (in fact, he even uses the appropriate jargon regarding heathens, heretics and the such, although I believe most of it is tongue in cheek).Apart from all that (which was the critical part for me), the book is obviously well respected, and it's remarkably thorough (which means you shouldn't be concerned with the content's verity or its coverage of the topic). Speaking of thoroughness, I'm quite satisfied that I happened upon it in digital format, because I later realized how thick the paper ver must be, and that I would most likely have been intimidated by it to the point of not buying the book in the first e Kindle ver does have a few OCR issues (typically locations missing between words), but they're few and far apart enough not to become any meaningful hindrance to fluid reading.UPDATE: I finally finished reading the book, and I wanted to add a few things specifically for novices like myself. If you're a newcomer to philosophy AND you're just a casual reader, expect that you won't be able to understand everything, and that you will remember much less than what you understand. This is necessary in two ways. On one hand, knowing this, you shouldn't obtain discouraged when you don't understand something as well as you'd wish to: you'd probably forget it anyway, so just hold on reading -- the necessary thing is to obtain an overall idea, not to remember every small detail (which is anyway impossible). On the other hand, the fact that you'll unavoidably forget a lot of items is quite unfortunate, because after you finish with the Antics, the cross-references become increasingly more necessary and relevant. So I suggest that, if your reading habits let it, you might wish to jot down a few words about each philosopher IMMEDIATELY after finishing each chapter; you probably wouldn't need more that two or three phrases with what you found most distinctive about that person, so you can later remember more about each of them at a glance.Having said all that, expect that in the end you'll leave with maybe 10% of what you've been reading -- and that's if you're lucky. But that's ok: what matters is that you leave with an understanding of what philosophy is really all about, and that you will definitely get. Plus, you'll certainly be able to put almost any Western philosopher in roughly the right period, you'll develop likes and dislikes, and you'll end up with a much better understanding of what and why it is that Western philosophers have been doing what they've been doing for the past few thousand years. And let's be honest: what more can you hope for?
The complete title is:History of Western Philosophy and its Connection with Political & Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Show DayThis is a amazing book that I'm enjoying a lot.Unfortunately the complete title is butchered so you might think, as I did, the book is "just" about the history of omitting the complete title the publishers are dismissing the main strength of this book which is Philosophy's connections with politics and society throughout history.Had I known the book is also a history of politics and society I would have read it a long time ago.
I liked the full coverage of the ideas and social and political context of the most prominent philosophers in three parts: ancient philosophy, catholic philosophy and modern philosophy. I liked to learn that philosophy can’t prove or disprove religious dogma, although most philosophers produced “proofs” of immortality and the existence of God by falsifying logic, making mathematics mystical and presenting deep-seated prejudices as heaven-sent intuitions. And I liked to know twentieth-century logical analysis school, of which Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell is considered a founder, which searches elementary truths by means of successive logical and empirical approximations, as in science.I recommend this book to all those interested in comprehending the evolution of the most prominent philosophers of all time in the human pursuit to comprehend life and how to live a amazing life.I gave five stars to this book because it’s a thorough and grand opus that provides a life changing comprehension of what it means to comprehend life and how to live a amazing life.
The book is great; highly recommended. The kindle edition has typos, probably from an inaccurate OCR system, with quotes like "Kant says that if you are kind to your brother because you arc [sic] fond of him, you have no moral merit".The chapter metadata also wasn't loaded into the table of contents, only the division into a few multi-hundred-page main sections. That makes the Kindle edition harder to use as a reference, though the find functionality somewhat. Overall, I think the Kindle edition is still quite serviceable, but if these sorts of things bother you, maybe go for the hardcover.
Definitely not a book for everybody; but for those interested in the topic - info theory - a worthwhile read.I purchased it as a light summer read. It turned to be a bit heavier read that I anticipated, but this was not unwelcome. The early chapters - African drums, Morse code - are lighter read. The middle ones - Claude Shannon & al. - created me think a bit harder but it was worth it.
In the first chapters, Gleick talks longer about the historical origins of the logics. The ancient people learned their language in typical sitiìuations of the the 1700-1800 it starts the Industrial Revolution with a particular form of tecnology, that step-by-step becomes always more e first computers, those had an exit very slowly, are early substituded by the modern is fact follows by a research very strong, particullarly by the works of Shannon, von Neumann,ick moves himself in this back-ground in an smart way: he talks with competence about the matematical theory and the phylosophical is necessary for the actual research also the relation between logics and biology, what that is named "complexity theory".
Harry Truman once said - 'The only fresh thing in the globe is the old history we do not know'. At several points during James Gleick's magnum opus the same thought captures mind. Am I reading about telegraph? Or is this about twitter? The major essayists were/are complaining that human thoughts are getting constrained by the economy of the message. Is it real that skyscrapers were not as much enabled by progress in other faculties as much by ease of exchanging notice (telephone)? Gleick starts by showing how communicating via drums -- as was in some parts of Africa -- could mathematically carry more 'subtlety of meaning' -- and puns - than a lot of verbal languages. He reaches a crescendo in Claude Shannon's Info Theory that is the single thread of the journey in the book. Meanwhile we learn about Ada Lovelace's three step thinking process, Charles Babbage's 'grandeur', Qubits (and why it is like QTips), 'inclusionists' in WikiPedia, what is so unique about the number 9814072356 and that the universe has so far done 10^120 "ops" to make roughly 10 ^90 bits of data. This is one book if we hide in one time capsule, humans who search it after 10,000 years may obtain confused whether it describes the history or..them.
Since this was a needed reading for my English class at University, I had generalized expectations. I thought it was just another boring book about language. I could not be more wrong. Gleick gives so much historical background on every technical topic he introduces that reading becomes a joy, as you learn about the history of computing and other modern technologies revolved around information.
From the moment people invented writing, info technology has been with us. Encrypting or deciphering language depending on whether we want to be clear or mysterious is the challenge. Mr. Gleick traces all the revolutions in info creation, gathering, transmitting and receiving. Amazing reading.
Perfect book. Well written and the story pace is perfect. The only thing that I miss is a better description of the sources of a lot of of the info provided. In this regard, a book like "Dark Character of the Info Age: In find of Norbert Wiener, the father of Cybernetics" is more complete. This is specially necessary in the happenings described around Claude Shannon and his time with Vannevar Bush. Wiener also played an necessary role in the theoretical developments of that time. "The information: ...", though filled with references, it doesn't point to them precisely in the text. Also, the characters chosen for the main roles are rather US-centered. Participation of scientist that weren't in the US during the time are relegated to a second plane (e.g. Konrad Zuse).Nevertheless an perfect book for those trying to understand the history of info theory.
The Info is an interesting read. It is very entertaining and thought provoking. It is the story of Information's e book starts with the introduction of the byte at Bell Labs, then a story about talking drums is told. After that we move on to the story of Morse code, and then on to Table e stories continue as the walk through the history of info which lands us in today's flood of info and our modern day library of of the most interesting chapters to me was Entropy and its though the book is 527 pages long, the latest 100 pages are references and an index.A lot of work went into the making of this book. It is very well written and very entertaining. I recommend giving it a go.
An awesome read for anyone intersted in how the minds of yesterday got us to the info age of today. Not only does it take a biographical approach to a lot of of the scientists involved, but it also gets behind the theories of info in a method most people can read and understand. It's dense, and slow at times, but that slowness is pleasurable, not a detriment to the read at all.
I thought this was a amazing introduction to set theory. Enjoying to read through and I appreciated the knowledge checks at the end of most only issue was that there were a couple of errors that weren't caught in the proof-reading process. In 2.8 the author states, "For example, the intersection of the natural numbers with the odd numbers leaves the even numbers, a set we know to be countable infinite." If this and other errors were corrected, I would give this book five stars!
At times, while reading this book, I honestly felt I'm reading a novel. Metin Bektas has basically dramatized set theory in this book, building up to its epic conclusion—the infinity, and beyond.But don't assume that the book offers superficial information. After being away from mathematics for four years, I required something to refresh my memory—this book did that and then some. At this point, I'm fairly confident that this book has taught me all I required to know on the subject for an upcoming exam which contains set theory.
This book starts with a amazing section on notation, with exercises, enabling the reader to become fluent with the different symbols before getting into the theory. The globe is full of $100+ math texts which, despite having sections dedicated to notation, omit explanation of frequently used symbols, and which, for the symbols included, create no mention of how they should be expressed in words. Nice to see this for a change.
I have the highest regard for this history, or I would not have both hardcover and Kindle versions of it. These notes concern the transition to the Kindle format, as experienced on the original vigation is mostly excellent, as it should be for a work which will be used as a work of reference as well as one of which substantial portions will be read from beginning to end: there is a table of contents with the major divisions of each of the Four Parts (originally published separately), and at the begin of each Part there is its own more detailed contents section. Cross-references and footnotes are hyperlinked. The only improvement to navigation would be if the page references in the Index were hyperlinked e smaller typeface used in my printed volumes for whole paragraphs of quotation is missing, except in Part Four. Thankfully, in the other Parts there is additional white zone before and (usually) after the quoted passage. This white space, plus the almost inevitable reference to the cited work, ensures that in practice one can work out where the quotation ends. However, the conventional layout is there for a reason, and we should not have to deduce where a quotation begins and me "tabular" textual layouts (which occur infrequently) are not really satisfactory. So two columns of text (e.g. parallel syllogisms, or the square showing "Intellect, Will, Sensation, Desire" at about zone 4670) obtain run together in a method that is frankly ere are some strange and arbitrary changes to the printed text: at one point the transliteration of the Greek for "the now" (an italicised "to nun") loses the italics for the article "to". At another, on motion, there are apostrophes representing the primes in p' and p", which is not beautiful but suffices. Then suddenly they disappear and what should read « p' to p" » now reads on the Kindle « p to p ». Again, for some reason on the Kindle a zone is introduced into the term "not-p" so that it becomes "not -p" and the reader stumbles briefly over whether the hyphen represents the ¬ sign for negation (location about 3138).There are no illustrations in the Kindle version. The map, as usual on my Paperwhite, is e page numbers are continuous, doubtless representing those of the one-volume edition of the work rather than of the separately published volumes. The frequent headings (hyperlinked as already mentioned), rather than the page numbers, let one quite easily to relate the Kindle text to one of the printed eek letters obtain very uneven treatment in the Kindle version: sometimes a proper, scalable Greek letter is used; sometimes a Roman letter equivalent based on the letter's appearance (e.g. Zeta and Zed/Zee); sometimes a Roman letter equivalent based on the letter's position the respective alphabets (e.g. Zeta and F); and sometimes a non-scalable graphic. (A lower-case Greek Phi given the latter treatment looks rather like a smudge on the screen.) Examples follow - all from Volume One, where there are frequent references to Aristotle's "Metaphysics":Book Delta of the "Metaphysics" is referred to in the print ver using the Greek capital letter (Δ), but in the Kindle it appears as book "D". You would expect Book Zeta to cause no issues (capital Zeta (Ζ) and the modern equivalent (Z) being effectively identical) - but sometimes it becomes the capital letter "Aristotle on Science and Illusion", references to book Gamma use a proper Greek letter Γ (capital Gamma).In "Essence and Quiddity", references to Book Zeta are to Book F (e.g. zone 4112 approx); those to Delta begin out by being to D, which then revert to a genuine scalable hero Δ (Delta) for the reference to "Being and Existence", references to book Delta are given as if to book D, and references to book Zeta are to book F. Beta becomes B, and Eta correctly looks like our H. Book Gamma is referred to with mini-picture Γ (capital Gamma) (location 4286 approx).There is a Kindle typo in the Bibliography for Aristotle (Chapter 2), where the edition of what is called "Metaphysics M and H" should refer to "Metaphysics M and N".Readers wanting to follow up references to Aristotle will have to be guided by prior knowledge or by the print noticed already, footnotes are hyperlinked. The question is whether the links are accurate. A few soundings suggest that mostly they take you perfectly to the needed place. In one put (Part 4, Ch 8, n 1) the print ver directs you, correctly, to some sections on medieval ethics, while the Kindle hyperlink takes you to one section earlier (to Abelard rather than Aquinas); in another, (Part 4, Ch 11, n 4), the print ver directs you to the starting page of the section on "Aristotle's Political Theory", while the Kindle takes you to a more precise zone within that section, a few physical pages ing these pages on the Kindle is generally a delight, but it would be amazing to see the noticed imperfections corrected.