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Kant: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   141
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.8" Width: 4.3" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 8, 2005
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0192801996  
EAN  9780192801999  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Immanuel Kant is arguably the most influential modern philosopher, but is also one of the most difficult. In this illuminating Very Short Introduction, Roger Scruton--a well-known and controversial philosopher in his own right--tackles his exceptionally complex subject with a strong hand, exploring the background to Kant's work and showing why Critique of Pure Reason has proved so enduring.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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More About Roger Scruton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Roger Scruton is a writer and philosopher. His many books include The Soul of the World and The Aesthetics of Architecture (both Princeton), as well as A Short History of Modern Philosophy; Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left; and The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner's -Ring of the Nibelung.- He lives in Wiltshire, England.

Roger Scruton currently resides in Wiltshire. Roger Scruton has an academic affiliation as follows - Birkbeck College, University of London (Emeritus) American Enterprise.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Only 4 stars because any short introduction doesn't give Kant his due  May 13, 2007
It's a pretty good introduction, I'd recommend reading several introductions to Kant before diving in (he's pretty dense). I think Goethe said that reading Kant was like walking into a well-lit room, I hardly think he was talking about Kant's dry, scholastic writing style. The clarity of his thought, however, is pretty intense. I do recommend this book, merely because jumping straight into Kant probably isn't going to fare well. When, and if, you do choose to read Kant, take a look at Jonathan Bennett's website (a philosopher and Kant scholar), I think he translates Kant into more readable English. Early Modern Texts or something. I agree with some of the other commentators, that this introduction is kinda hard for a first time look into Kant. A history of philosophy book might be your best bet to read first. It is pretty good for such a short introduction though. Take your time and don't do it in a day. Digest it. Good luck all.
Making Sense of Genius  Mar 8, 2007
Kant is clearly one of the 4 or 5 most influential thinkers of the last half-century, however, the complexity of his ideas combined with an often difficult writing style (for modern readers) makes for a difficult study. In order to get the most out of Kant (or to get through him at all, for that matter), it is essential to read and study modern introductions and commentaries first. This "very short introduction" is an excellent example. It is concise, highly readable, and a good beginning for more detailed study. However, it is still not enough to allow one to tackle Kant immediately and I suggest further introductory study.
Great intro to Kant  Dec 16, 2006
Immanuel Kant's life work focused on solving the mistakes of the rationalist philosophy that he had learned from men, like Gottfried Leibnitz, and the mistakes of the empiricist philosophy that he was so intrigued with through the writings of David Hume. Kant wants to move beyond the mistakes both schools of philosophy made and synthesize their truths into a new philosophical understanding of knowledge. Rationalist philosophers held the view that all knowledge came from the exercise of reason alone, unpolluted by the view of any experience held by the observer. "Reality itself is accessible to reason alone, since only reason can rise above the individual point of view and participate in the vision of ultimate necessities, which is also God's." Thus, Leibnitz argues that human understanding contained certain innate principles known to be true, which when used with our ability to reason, could explain all questions in and of the world. Rationalists were convinced that experience was not a reliable tool to gain knowledge of the world. The rationalist method was very convincing and was the dominant school of philosophy in Kant's day. The criticism of rationalist philosophy was that you had to "trust" in reason to be able to deduce answers.

On the other hand, empiricist philosophers believed that knowledge of the world was only possible through learning by experience. Hume "denies the possibility of knowledge through reason, since reason cannot operate without ideas, and ideas are acquired only through the senses." Hume and other empiricist philosophers argued that without observing proof of something, the observer could not have knowledge of it. Knowledge of the world, for Hume, is knowledge of the world through the eyes of the observer. Hume argues that reason can only provide relationships between ideas; reason cannot produce ideas on its own or provide facts. Hume was even distrustful of the writings and teachings of others being capable of providing answers. "The only experience that can confirm anything for me is my experience." Hume's skepticism even rises to the level of doubting the existence of self. Thus, Hume earns the moniker of "the Great Skeptic." Hume's skepticism is in direct contradiction to the rationalist philosopher, Rene Descartes, whose rationalist investigations led him to utter the famous words, "Cogito, ergo sum, I think, therefore I am." The criticism of empiricist philosophy is that we can be sure of so little, since one can actually prove through direct observation so little in the world. For Kant, Hume puts so much of scientific thought into question since Hume doubts the concept of causality occurring in nature. Thus, Kant says it was Hume who "awoke him from his dogmatic slumbers." Kant so desperately wants to solve the philosophical dichotomy between these two schools.

Kant believes that both schools make the same fundamental mistake in their approach to the question of epistemology. He argued that philosophers were essentially asking the wrong question, which was, how we can bring ourselves to understand the world. Kant said the real question to ask was how the world comes to be understood by us. Kant will solve this dichotomy between the two schools in his first book Critique of Pure Reason.

This was required reading for a graduate course in the Humanities. Recommended reading for anyone interested in history, psychology, philosophy, and literature.

Heroic Attempt by Scruton  Apr 15, 2006
This is an heroic attempt by Scruton to summarize the entire philosophy of one the most important thinkers of all time. Unfortunately, Kant was also not the greatest writer of all time and often made his own great insights almost incomprehensible to the casual reader. Scruton does a wonderful job of making Kant clear.
Excellent introduction to Kant  Mar 15, 2006
This book offers a clear and concise introduction to one of the most difficult philosophers. This book, and others in the series, are excellent preparation for an undergraduate class. Scruton is a little conservative in his analysis of Kant's work. The reader should be aware that he is definitely of the analytic strain.

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