Berkeley in 90 Minutes

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Overview

In Berkeley in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Berkeley's life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Berkeley's writings; a brief list of suggested reading for those who wish to push further; and chronologies that place Berkeley within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
paper: 1-56663-291-9 The very first sentence of this whimsical introduction to Irish philosopher Berkeley (1685-1753) gives away the game: Strathern (Foucault in 90 Minutes, see below) declares that Berkeley's work is "ludicrous" and "gives philosophy a bad name." Eventually he backpedals and finds a few positive insights lurking in the murk of Berkeley's tortured lucubrations, but he can't quite bring himself to take the bishop seriously all the same—which is just as well for us. In between amusing but unconnected anecdotes about Berkeley's life, Strathern does manage to touch on the philosopher's most famous idea (that "the material world didn't exist")—although he can't refute it quite so well as Samuel Johnson did (by rolling a large stone into Berkeley's path). Although he does not consider any other 18th-century thinkers in detail (Adam Smith is briefly mentioned), Strathern does touch upon Berkeley's friendship with Jonathan Swift. Presumably intended for college students who can't be bothered to read primary sources, Strathern's quixotic portrait isn't likely to improve their grades—although it will certainly provide a laugh or two.
New York Times
A godsend in this era of the short attention span.
— Daryl Royster Alexander
Wall Street Journal
Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise.
— Jim Holt
Boston Globe
Each of these little books is witty and dramatic and creates a sense of time, place, and character...I cannot think of a better way to introduce oneself and one's friends to Western civilization.
— Katherine A. Powers
The New York Times
A godsend in this era of the short attention span.
— Daryl Royster Alexander
The Wall Street Journal
Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise.
— Jim Holt
The Boston Globe
Each of these little books is witty and dramatic and creates a sense of time, place, and character...I cannot think of a better way to introduce oneself and one's friends to Western civilization.
— Katherine A. Powers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566632911
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: Philosophers in 90 Minutes Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 87
  • Sales rank: 1,019,018
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Strathern is author of the popular and critically acclaimed Philosophers in 90 Minutes series. Highlights from the series include Nietzsche in 90 Minutes, Aristotle in 90 Minutes, and Plato in 90 Minutes. Mr. Strathern has lectured in philosophy and mathematics and now lives and writes in London. A former Somerset Maugham prize winner, he is also the author of books on history and travel as well as five novels. His articles have appeared in a great many newspapers, including the Observer (London) and the Irish Times. His own degree in philosophy came from Trinity College, Dublin.

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