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German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. Mai 2010

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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).

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Impressively Concise and Readable Introduction to German Philosophy 18. Juli 2010
Von Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
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).
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Cesar Eduardo D. Elizi - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
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
Correction 27. April 2013
Von User - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Re Mr Ferg's remark on Aristotle. See
This may have some influence on your perception of the reliability of his other assertions
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
just a reminder for me 17. August 2011
Von Bruce P. Barten - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
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.
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
It Gets the Job Done 12. Mai 2012
Von David Milliern - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
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.
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