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Posted January 29, 2011
Not An Objective Account of Philosophy to Put It Mildly
If you are a white, conservative man who believes in God and you want to turn back the clock on the world, you will probably enjoy this book. I say probably because I'm convinced that even some conservatives will feel manipulated by the book.
My main complaint is with the title of the book. By reading the title, one might be tempted to draw the conclusion that the book would present an objective survey of modern philosophy. This is certainly not the case. In the introduction Mr. Scruton does inform you that he will express his opinions in the book and that the book will sometimes be controversial and he suggests that it will be clear to the reader when he is expressing his opinion.
This last statement by the author is only half true. Sruton does indeed express his opinions throughout the book, however, he is much more sly in how he goes about manipulating the reader. He does this by his choice of philosophers to treat, by giving some philosophers much more ink than most modern philosphers think they deserve. His explantion and discussion of existentialism is facile, to put it mildly.
Marxism comes in for particular scorn throughout the book. In his chapter on "The Devil" (of all things) I lost count of the number of times he mentions Marxism, but the word "Nazi" appears only once. Perhaps because Nazism was a far right fascist political movement and not a liberal movement, and after all, Mr. Scruton is out to attack the liberal position at every turn.
On a positive note, Scruton is a gifted writer with an impressive style and this is the only reason I gave the book a rating of "2" instead of the lowest possible rating.
If you have a degree in philosophy and you are interested in dipping your toes back into the subject then you might profit from reading the book because you would be able to put it in perspective. For a person new to the subject, I would suggest beginning with a more objective and less politically charged book or books on modern philosophy.
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Posted May 5, 2010
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