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German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Bowie

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German philosophy remains the core of modern philosophy. Without Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Husserl there would be no Anglo-American analytical style of philosophy. Moreover, without Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, the Continental Philosophy of Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Badiou, and Zizek, which has had major effects on humanities subjects in recent years, is incomprehensible. Knowledge of German philosophy is, then, an indispensableprerequisite of theoretically informed study in the humanities as a whole. German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction discusses the idea that German philosophy forms one of the most revealing responses to the problems of modernity. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raises a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, and artistic ways of seeing the world. There are also many significant philosophers who are generally neglected in most existing English-language treatments of German philosophy, which tend to concentrate on the canonical figures. This Very Short Introduction will include reference to these thinkers and suggests how they can be used to question more familiar German philosophical thought.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Andrew Bowie is Professor of Philosophy and German at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published very widely in the areas of modern German philosophy, literature, and music. His previous publications include Aesthetics and Subjectivity: from Kant to Nietzsche (Manchester University Press, 1993); Schelling and Modern European Philosophy: An Introduction (Routledge, 1993), and Introduction to German Philosophy from Kant to Habermas (Polity, 2003).


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 495 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 153 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 0199569258
  • Verlag: OUP Oxford; Auflage: 1 (27. Mai 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0199569258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199569250
  • ASIN: B005FVPE5U
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #414.485 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.1 von 5 Sternen  7 Rezensionen
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen It Gets the Job Done 12. Mai 2012
Von David Milliern - Veröffentlicht auf
My only two complaints about this work are in the writing style, which is a bit mechanically rough, and the information included, which is more a matter of taste; everyone is going to have a little bit of a different idea about what should be included in such a work.

The above aside, I thought this work does everything that a work of this type should do. Having read it, a novice would be able to carry out a superficial, though competent, discussion on German philosophy. Also, if one were to never read another book, the individual would have a satisfactory idea of the subject. Finally, this book serves as a well balance introduction that is capable of informing the reader whether he or she would like to read further into the subject or one of its authors. Bowie covers everything from Kant to the Marburg School to Habermas. Having had an undergraduate level knowledge of the material presented, I still took away a few helpful tidbits.

The only case I would not recommend this book is for someone certain that they would like to read more thoroughly into this subject, in which case there are a number of other books that will give more depth. One concern I have, not being a complete novice myself, is as to whether there is a deep enough explication of terminology given, so beware. In any event, this is a nice and quick read for anyone with some idea of the subject.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great, rigorous and brief introductions 9. Juni 2015
Von Sergio Munoz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
The series is fantastic because the books are usually rigorously written but short as the name indicates. Very useful. The same applies to the other three I bought: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Modernism
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen vERY SHORT, VERY SOUND, VERY SAVVY 11. Dezember 2011
Von Cesar Eduardo D. Elizi - Veröffentlicht auf
I felt compelled to write about this book for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it makes a very pleasant reading, but most importantly,
it makes you want to read more about the subject, which, let's face
it, is essential.
That's not to say that if you have in fact a good background reading
on the topic you're not in for a good surprise. I, for one, loved
to see several pieces finally fall into place, for which I'll feel
eternally indebted to Doctor Bowie. Many thanks and please keep on
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A good effort; but the scope of this book far exceeds its length 10. Dezember 2012
Von Gregory J. Casteel - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Some subjects are, by their very nature, not well suited to "very short introductions". In particular, if a subject is simultaneously very broad and very deep -- such as German philosophy -- it can be very difficult to summarize adequately in the space of only 125 pages. Trying to cover all of German philosophy in a book that is small enough fit in your jacket pocket is a lot like trying to explain Einstein's theory of relativity in a haiku. I'm not saying that it can't be done; but I can almost guarantee that the constraints of the medium are going to be more of a hindrance than a help to the writer and, therefore, to the reader as well. When forced to distil the essence of an expansive subject into a short book, an author must often choose between oversimplification and abstruseness -- either reducing the complexities of the subject to mere caricature (which, fortunately, the author of this volume manages to avoid) or else packing information into the text so densely that it becomes virtually unintelligible to the novice reader (which, unfortunately, he doesn't). When I pick up a book subtitled "A Very Short Introduction", I expect it to be written on an introductory level -- something that would be suitable for undergraduates with no prior exposure to the subject. But this supposedly "introductory" text seemed more well-suited for upper-level philosophy students who already have a pretty strong background in the subject. I minored in philosophy back when I was an undergrad, and have continued to read lots of philosophy in the intervening decades; but I found myself having to re-read a number of passages from this book multiple times in order to fully digest what the author was trying to say. He's not a bad writer at all. He's just trying to cover too much ground in too short a book, and is therefore unable to take the time needed to fully unpack some of the complex ideas he presents. This is not a bad book -- in fact, it's quite informative. It's just too ambitious in scope for its own good. I would recommend it only to those who are well-accustomed to reading philosophy, and who have the time and patience to re-read difficult passages until their meaning sinks in. But if you're a novice looking for a introductory text on German philosophy for beginners, you might want to look elsewhere.
1 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen just a reminder for me 17. August 2011
Von Bruce P. Barten - Veröffentlicht auf
How do you do?

After spending a few years on Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Marx, Hegel, and the confusion that can be caused by trying to figure out Kant as a German influenced by Swedenborg when the Germans and Swedes considered Swedenborg heretical, I thought I understood how Fichte got into the kind of trouble that is mentioned in:

German Philosophy, A Very Short Introduction (2010) by Andrew Bowie.

With such a large cast, it is not surprising that a book presents the topic like a play. Aristotle thought a tragedy was great drama if it had unity. To think of philosophy as a topic that keeps running into circular thinking whenever some idea is more appealing than reality allows the author to have his fun. The book mentions an absolute, but it does not have a section called:

The return of tragedy

until Chapter 6, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and the death of God.

The `excess' of the world
over our knowledge leads to tragic situations,
in which the kinship order is overridden,
leading to incest, matricide, fratricide,
and so on. It is a small step from this `excess'
to Freud's theory of the unconscious,
which was influenced by Schopenhauer. (p. 71).

Trying to explain Marx at this late date in history is like stumbling upon an attempt to explain money as an ideology:

Money abstracts from the concrete
things which it enables people to exchange,
in a manner analogous to the way a word
designating something abstracts from
the particularity of a thing to make it
an instance of a concept. The connection
between money and thing,
and word and thing,
depends on the systematic
constitution of the elements in question:
a thing's value derives from its
being incorporated into a system of
discriminations, rather than from
anything intrinsic to it.
Marx's underlying concern is that
such abstractions may have damaging
consequences for real individuals,
who are essentially particular,
whereas systems are general.
This contradiction between
individual and system creates the space
for ideology, when the demands
of the system override the needs of the individual. (p. 64).

Early infant psychology might be compared with something written about Fichte:

In Fichte's terms,
the basic process is seen
as an `absolute I', which
involves nothing that depends
on anything else,
splitting itself and so establishing
the relationship between
subjective and objective,
I and not-I. (p. 39).

Schelling's later philosophy thought Hegel failed to provide philosophy with an answer for our basic dissonance between thought and being. Hegel gets credit for a section on `Lordship and Bondage.' (p. 47). The person doing all the work is supposed to become as powerful as the French Revolution in being able to arrange "the demise of the feudal aristocracy" (p. 47). I think Marx was closer to the truth about societies being wiped out from being caught in the marginal thinking of the capitalists.
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