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German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Andrew Bowie

German philosophy stands at the center of modern thought. Without Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Husserl there would be no Anglo-American "analytical" style of philosophy. And without Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, the "Continental Philosophy" … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Andrew Bowie
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
1 review about German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction

Impressively Concise and Readable Introduction to German Philosophy

  • Jul 18, 2010
There are very few countries that can boast of an intellectual tradition that is as impressive as that of Germany. This is particularly true of the "hard" sciences and philosophy. In fact, when it comes to philosophy, it could be argued that for a couple of centuries Germany was a philosophical "superpower." The time period that is roughly spanned by Kant on one side and Heidegger on the other saw the emergence of several giants of philosophical thought. This time period and its greatest philosophers is the subject matter of this very short book, and it does a tremendous job of elucidating some of the most difficult works in all of philosophy.

German philosophy fell out of favor in most of the Western world shortly after World War II. This was in part due to politics, but a shift towards analytical philosophy played a major role as well. In recent decades, however, interest in German philosophy has been rekindled; many of the most significant thinkers are being "rediscovered" and their works discussed in academic circles. In light of this trend, a short primer like this book is a useful introduction to German philosophy for a new generation of readers. The book is aimed at the general readership, and no formal knowledge of German philosophy is assumed. The author does a tremendous job of succinctly and lucidly presenting the most important ideas in German philosophical tradition. This is no small feat as some of the works discussed include the most notoriously difficult works of philosophy ever written: Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason," Hegel's "The Phenomenology of Spirit," and Heidegger's "Being and Time." To fully appreciate this book, however, it would be useful for the reader to be at least familiar with some philosophical questions and themes. Some other books in this "Very Short Introduction" series could be of great use in that regard. I would in particular recommend Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions).

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