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Kant in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes)

3.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  280 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
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, Boston Globe. Well-written, clear and informed, they have a breezy wit about them....I find them hard to stop reading. Richard Bernstein, New York Times. Wit ...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher (first published April 25th 1996)
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Dec 23, 2011 Trevor rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
I have to say I was pretty disappointed with this. Look, if I only have 90 minutes to tell people about one of the world’s greatest philosophers, I know how much time I would spend speculating on Kant’s Oedipal Complex – that’s right, no time at all. That so much time is spent in this talking about how boring Kant was as a person gets to be, well, tedious. The guy revolutionised Western Philosophy. I’d be prepared to say that far too much of what came after him was a sotto voce version of what h ...more
Mar 25, 2009 Jimmy rated it liked it
Once again, not incredibly helpful, but it provided me with a few funny autobiographical anecdotes about Kant. These little volumes tend to be odd depending on which philosopher the book is on. With Kant's notoriously unevenftul life in mind, Strathern takes the psychoanalytic approach to explaining Kant's misanthropic breakdown before he died.

"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me
Douglas Dalrymple
Dec 06, 2012 Douglas Dalrymple rated it it was ok
I picked this up on a whim at the local library, looking for a brief refresher.

”It’s difficult to know what to say about Kant’s life. He didn’t really have one (outside his head). Nothing of any real interest happened to him.”

Despite Strathern’s disclaimer, he spends more time on Kant’s uneventful biography than his philosophy. You get a better sense of him as a character of eccentric habits than as a thinker. Perhaps that’s inevitable in a slim volume of 100 pages, I don’t know.

Beyond a general
Mar 12, 2016 Realini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Kant in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

This is another book in a series of authors explained in ninety minutes, with great skill, by a wonderful author.
Kant has always been an epitome of high thinking, representing the power of human thought to produce works of genius.
The flip side is that Kant has also signified a barrier that I would never pass, being unable to get anywhere close to understanding him.
In fact, it is not even a question of understanding, for I could not even write a page
Don Incognito
Jul 06, 2013 Don Incognito rated it liked it
What many reviewers say about this book is true: it offers limited details about Kant's philosophy. But there are clearly reasons for that. Author Paul Strathern's ability to discuss the philosophies in detail is severely restricted by the extremely short length of the books, and this becomes more of a problem when he discusses philosophies written in philosophical jargon by intellectuals who didn't write concisely and comprehensibly (and didn't care). Kant and several other major German philoso ...more
Arash Kamangir
Jul 23, 2016 Arash Kamangir rated it it was amazing
با کانت تموم کردم این مجموعه رو.
Beth E
Dec 19, 2012 Beth E rated it liked it
And interesting presentation and discussion on this mid-1700's philosopher. Rightly accused of such flowery and effusive speech that makes his writings nearly unreadable, his main point was trying to determine if understanding leads to a greater experience, or if experience itself is needed before any understanding can be had. He applies this question not just to life itself, but to math, physics and even religion.
John Martindale
Nov 13, 2015 John Martindale rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy, audiobook
Well, the library has a bunch of these "in 90 minutes" audiobooks, and I find I just keep on listening to them even though they continue to be, well, incredibly underwhelming.
I have definitely found William Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" to be a much better summery of famous philosophers lives and ideas, especially on Kant, I wish Durant wrote a whole book on Kant.
Joseph Sverker
Nov 13, 2015 Joseph Sverker rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Strathern manages to some degree to convey Kant's important thoughts. But I find this book frustratingly simplified. I don't have problems with texts being introductions, and they will inevitably be simplifications, which sometimes in a way leads to mistaken understandings of the philosopher. But this was just too short in my mind. It is strange that he still manages to include so many anecdotes about Kant as a person. I think those were the most interesting parts in the book. But, I am not comp ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Rob rated it it was ok
Sometimes I have little fits of insomnia. Take last night for instance. It's getting to be around two in the morning and I Kant can't sleep. I think to myself, maybe if I listen to a biography of a boring person I will fall asleep. Unfortunately, Kant in 90 Minutes was not the somniferous lullaby I so dearly desired. That's not to suggest it is action-packed, keep you on the edge of your seat, excitement, either. No, Kant in 90 Minutes is a hasty summation of the less interesting aspects of the ...more
Timothy McNeil
My main objection to this brief overview of Kant is not in Strathern's overlooking much of the philosopher's work, but rather that he clearly does not understand what lies at the heart of the categorical imperative. More than that, he paints the picture that Kantian metaphysics have been abandoned by modern philosophers (which is decidedly not the impression I got from my philosophy professors and visiting lecturers). In being dismissive, he is makes the reader question why one would take the ef ...more
Michael Treadway
Jul 29, 2015 Michael Treadway rated it liked it
It was interesting. For a book setting out to give a brief synopsis of the man and his philosophies, there was an awful lot of editorializing from the author, which was interesting. Not really the style I was expecting. Eighty-five pages seems to small a space to allow the author's thoughts to drape around like they did in this one. Not bad, would probably be fine for someone who needs a quick primer on the man.
Feb 18, 2016 M. rated it liked it
Not an expressly bad attempt per say, but really heavily biographical and even psychological rather than philosophical. It's understandable with such dense content as Kant's and I think Strathern does manage to illuminate a few fleeting glimpses of Kantian philosophy, but really would have appreciated a head-long dive into Kant's ideas rather than his family relationships.
Misha Erementchouk
Feb 11, 2012 Misha Erementchouk rated it did not like it
Shelves: philosophy
The only curious feature of this book is that it illustrates one of Kant's ideas the author failed to explain in the text. The book is based on silent supposition that you can get something by simple observing how it interacts with our senses. Applying to Kant himself (a hint for "thing in itself" is intended) this means that the book apparently assumes that one can understand the ideas, Kant spent a big chunk of his life thinking about, through observations of notably uneventful Kant's life. Th ...more
M Pereira
Not much can be said when a philosopher writes about so many subjects. But Strathern makes a bloody good effort at addressing the breadth of topics that Kant writes. In addition, Strathern explores the apochryphal stories about Kant and to some degree, their origins. Strathern gives a picture of a man who is ill-understood, probably because his philosophy and thought is even less understood. Strathern gives a suggestion that Kant was a man with few friends and possibly lonely due to his limited ...more
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it liked it
Look. Kant has built a fortress around his philosophy with his abstruse language. That's why I turned to this cheat of a book. I learned a few things--maybe a smooth definition of metaphysics--but I got the impression that Strathern does not like Kant.

But it does not take 90 minutes to read and I've wasted time doing worse.
Kevin Costanzo
Jun 14, 2015 Kevin Costanzo rated it liked it
I was familiar with Kant's popular thoughts and theories but I was insightful to get a quick biography on him as well . Allowing me to understand his philosophy better.
Maud North
Jul 20, 2014 Maud North rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strathern is just wonderfully amusing. Not only does he do a wonderful job explaining Kant, but takes away all guilt I may have felt in not understanding him before.
Apr 24, 2015 Alaka rated it did not like it
Strathern tries the impossible, and perhaps by definition, fails. This is biography, not philosophy.
Robert Lyon
Nov 08, 2014 Robert Lyon rated it liked it
This contained some interested biographical information.
Jan 24, 2014 Mckinley rated it liked it
non-experiencial reason leads only to illusions, experience without being applied to reason will be purely subjective

Short loner - late bloomer
Contains a biography which was interesting, and some quotes and lines from his work along with a philosophy time-out. Does fit him into the overall body of philosophy.
Dec 01, 2012 David rated it liked it
The author does a good job describing Kant, his quirks and intellectual prowess are painted so well that you come away with a nice picture in your head of who this character was. Hopefully that image is enough to help the reader then take on the exhausting task of getting through Kant's writing. . .
Feb 18, 2008 Audra rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: educational
I just read this tonight. I picked it up on a whim, to try to ease back into philosophy. Now I remember why I hated Kant in college. I was also hoping this would be a quick summary of Kant's philosophies, but instead it was more of a biography, with some exerpts of his work.
Nov 01, 2011 Maggie rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
i've learned the most from this one in the series since i had only patchy knowledge on kant to begin with. may have to listen a second time since his philosophical system continues to confound me. but i have confidence that this digest, in this format, will help .
Apr 08, 2010 Bo rated it liked it
A good little intro to Kant, the impression I get is that same as all philosophers; amazing and deep ideas that should be taken with a grain of salt, Kant is not perfect. The catergorical imperative is worth learning but impossible to completely live by.
Billy Sheppard
Dec 04, 2015 Billy Sheppard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series. Strathern delivers a pithy summary of the important dates and details, along with anecdotes and historical context, a timeline, and more. Great series, especially taken together as a long book of great thought and biography.
Apr 16, 2016 Russ rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Again, Strathern is more interested in giving an anecdotal account of his subject's life, along with little jabs at late 20th century philosophy, than explaining Kant's thought in the context that which preceded and followed.
Jan 10, 2008 Jack rated it liked it
Any of the "(philosopher's name) in 90 Minutes" series is a hilarious biographic sketch that provides about 45 minutes (less than advertised) of good, clean entertainment. Philosophically, these books are worthless, of course.
Nov 12, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Had to read for background for class. I found the discussion of Kant's actual philosophy lacking. Overall, a disappointment, but at least it was short and contained interesting biographical information.
Jody Mena
Jun 01, 2015 Jody Mena added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Nice little snapshot of Kant's life and philosophy, very witty with a sense of humor about Kant's apparent shortcomings. It imparts a decent understanding of the basic concepts in Kant's philosophy.
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Paul Strathern (born 1940) is a British writer and academic. He was born in London, and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, after which he served in the Merchant Navy over a period of two years. He then lived on a Greek island. In 1966 he travelled overland to India and the Himalayas. His novel A Season in Abyssinia won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1972.

Besides five novels, he has also written nume
More about Paul Strathern...

Other Books in the Series

Philosophers in 90 Minutes (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Aristotle in 90 Minutes
  • Berkeley in 90 Minutes
  • Bertrand Russell in 90 Minutes  (Philosophers in 90 Minutes)
  • Confucius in 90 Minutes
  • Derrida in 90 Minutes
  • Descartes in 90 Minutes
  • Dewey in 90 Minutes
  • Foucault in 90 Minutes
  • Hegel in 90 Minutes
  • Heidegger in 90 Minutes

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