Against The Idols Of The Age / Edition 1

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Overview

Little known outside his native Australia, David Stove was one of the most illuminating and brilliant philo­sophical essayists of the postwar era. A fearless at­tacker of intellectual and cultural orthodoxies, Stove left powerful critiques of scientific irrationalism, Dar­winian theories of human behavior, and philosophi­cal idealism. He was also an occasional essayist of considerable charm and polemical snap. Stove's writ­ing is both rigorous and immensely readable. It is, in the words of Roger Kimball, "an invigorating blend of analytic lucidity, mordant humor, and an amount of common sense too great to be called 'common.'" Against the Idols of the Age brings together a repre­sentative selection of Stove's writing and is an ideal introduction to his work.

The book opens with some of Stove's most impor­tant attacks on irrationalism in the philosophy of sci­ence. He exposes the roots of this fashionable attitude, tracing it through writers like Paul Feyerabend andThomas Kuhn to Karl Popper. Stove was a born controversialist, so it is not surpris­ing that when he turned his attention to contemporary affairs he said things that are politically incorrect. The topical essays that make up the second part of the book show Stove at his most withering and combative. Whether the subject is race, femi­nism, the Enlightenment, or the demand for "non-coercive philosophy," Stove is on the mark with a battery of impressive arguments expressed in sharp, uncompromis­ing prose. Against the Idols of the Age concludes with a generous sampling of his blistering attacks on Darwinism.

David Stove's writings are an undiscovered treasure. Although readers may dis­agree with some of his opinions, they will find it difficult to dismiss his razor-sharp arguments. Against the Idols of the Age is the first book to make the full range of this important thinker available to the general reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stove was undoubtedly the most stylish and witty writer of all philosphers of the last one hundred years, if not of all time. When it comes to attacking the absurdities of twentieth century intellectual movements no one else came close, and certainly no one else was as funny. The greatest iconoclast of the twentieth century, we can now see in retrospect, was not any of the European avant-garde, most of whom in fact, epitomized the spirit of the century perfectly, but this no nonsense Australian. His greatest contributions were in the philosophy of science, in particular in his defense of inductive reasoning, and in his attack on the sort of irrationalism manifested by his four horsemen, Popper, Kuhn, Lalatos, and Feyerabend." —The Review of Metaphysics "A self-proclaimed neo-positivist-and a brilliant, truculent, cantankerous essayist-Stove attacks everything from contemporary philosophy of science and evolutionary theory to religious belief and intellectual equality of women." —The Weekly Standard "The greatest philosopher of the twentieth century may not have been Wittgenstein, or Russell, or Quine (and he certainly wasn’t Heidegger), but he may have been a somewhat obscure and conservative Australian named David Stove (1927-94). If he wasn’t the greatest philosopher of the century, Stove was certainly the funniest and most dazzling defender of common sense to be numbered among the ranks of last century’s thinkers, better even—by far—than G. E. Moore and J. L. Austin. . . . What separates Stove from your average angry-eyed reactionary is the startling brilliant way that he argues, combining plain horse sense with the most nimble and skillful philosophical reasoning this side of Hume, along with a breathtaking wit." —Partisan Review "An early, fearless, sometimes reckless combatant in the science and culture wars, Stove fought wittily and two-fistedly on the side of empirical realism." —Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765809100
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2001
  • Edition description: FIRST PAPERBACK
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Kimball is co-editor and publisher of The New Criterion and president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is also an art critic for the London Spectator and National Review. He is author of numerous titles including The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity.

Roger Kimball is co-editor and publisher of The New Criterion and president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is also an art critic for the London Spectator and National Review. He is author of numerous titles including The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity.

David Stove (1927-1994) taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. He is the author of numerous books, including The Rationality of Induction and Against the Idols of the Age.

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