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A Short History of Modern Philosophy

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  317 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A Short History of Modern Philosophy is a lucid, challenging and up-to-date survey of the philosophers and philosophies from the founding father of modern philosophy, Ren(r) Descartes, to the most important and famous philosopher of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Roger Scruton has been widely praised for his success in making the history of modern philosophy c
ebook, 315 pages
Published November 23rd 1995 by Routledge (first published January 1st 1383)
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Josh Friedlander
Oct 05, 2014 Josh Friedlander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A superbly engaging summary of Western philosophy, starting from a brief recap of post-Hellenistic thought (Scruton comes to the defense of the medieval scholastics, showing how their work pre-empted many recent ideas) and then getting into depth from Descartes onwards, culminating in Wittgenstein and the modern conception of philosophy of language. The author's breadth of knowledge is incredible, and he uses his broader understanding of the History of Ideas to inform his portrayal of individual ...more
David Williamson
Sep 17, 2011 David Williamson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I found this much more useful to read than the Bertrand Russel book.
Bjbernis Bernis
Mar 08, 2010 Bjbernis Bernis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You don't need to spend 8 years in Undergrad (like I did) to understand the basic of Philosophy. This book manages to summarize some of the most difficult material in philosophy without sacrificing too many important details and distinctions. If you haven't taken a course in philosophy, you owe it to yourself and to the world to give this book a read. Philosophy is all about expanding choice; and after reading this book, you'll come to find that many of the beliefs you take for granted might not ...more
Jul 15, 2008 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Semantics and god got you girls back in the day..
Richard Newton
Apr 30, 2013 Richard Newton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A good overview of a wide range of modern philosophers. It helps that Scruton is knowledgeable, clear thinking and has a clear and confident writing style. This sort of book needs clarity, not tentative views. Scruton has his biases, but they are so well known and therefore apparent and mostly harmless. By presenting this as a history Scruton is able to contrast and compare a range of philosophers and explain the development of (European) philosophy.

In detail, I particularly liked the parts on K
Tim S.
Mar 16, 2009 Tim S. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book quite unfriendly to the lay reader, who I have to assume is the targeted audience for a brief history. The discussions seem far too brief to be of any real enlightenment to the learned philosophy student (not me), and certainly too dense and jargon-laced to be easily understood by the general reader (me).

I've read a number of intro to philosophy-style books, so the ideas and philosophers discussed here are not exactly unfamiliar to me. Nevertheless, I could barely follow Scrut
Oct 15, 2015 Þróndr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scruton here provides a “synthetic vision of the history of modern philosophy, from an analytical perspective”.. – For me, the book didn’t really take off until Scruton moved on to Leibniz, and then Locke. With these philosophers, the writing got a lot more interesting, and from there on it only got better. I thought he gave an excellent summary of Spinoza’s philosophy however. I also very much appreciated his chapters on both Kant and Hegel, which I thought were lucidly written. His chapters on ...more
Adam Marischuk
May 06, 2017 Adam Marischuk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Roger Scruton is a man of strong opinions who manages to understand other opinions while not necessarily sharing them

Modern philosophy is a little out of my field, aside from a couple undergraduate classes in modern philosophy, Hume, Kant, Neitzsche and Kierkegaard (many years ago), I have always focused on Medieval philosophy. There were a few philosophers for whom I only had a passing acquaintance before reading this book, a few who were only names and footnotes to me. So I figured I should br
Lukas op de Beke
This short history is, first of all, indeed very short and succinct but certainly not cursory. It is nicely divided in metaphysics & epistemology, and the rest of the philosophical sub-fields. Of course not every section was equally interesting to me, for the simple reason that reading Spinoza and Leibniz banter about the nature of substance, monads and universals does not ring any bell with me.

Nevertheless I found the introduction very appealing, Scruton's "meta"-philosophy is very to the
Ryan Linkous
Wow, understanding modern philosophy is tough. Granted this book is a "short" history of modern philosophy. But I still struggled to totally grasp what some of the major figures were trying to say and the significance of their thought. It was comforting whenever Scruton admits that a particular thinker's interpreters don't even know what to do with certain things that person said.

Part of me wants to give this book a worse rating, but I know that's likely not fair because I couldn't understand ev
Kraig Grady
Jan 24, 2013 Kraig Grady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps one would think that everything was clear and dandy here would be the ideal state to be left when done reading such a book. Instead there is much that requires more investigation on my part and this I think this book provided where to go. While I was aware of many of these philosophers, the book provided many threads between them and how they developed, dis- and reappeared . Despite the author known as being a "conservative", he was less critical of Marx than one might imagine. In fact h ...more
Ross Mckinney
I have mixed feelings. Scruton was trying to provide an introduction to philosophical thought - not philosophers. The biographical information was scant. He's fond of jargon, very judgmental, and I found it hard to weed out what was Scruton's take from what consensus positions might look for. That's not an easy task (to provide the core principles without judging them), but he doesn't do it all that well. The writing is hard to follow. Basically I was disappointed. He was better on the mid-late ...more
Jacob Stubbs
So, I've used this work in two different papers; one over Kant and his attempt at solving the problems of Cartesian Scepticism and Humean Empiricism via the "Transcendental Apperception..." and another over Wittgenstein and the possibilities of "Private Language." The essays over Kant and Wittgenstein were both very informative and really, at least in my opinion, represented the aforementioned philosopher's arguments quite well. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book to those who are looking to ...more
Superfluous Man
Oct 16, 2012 Superfluous Man rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Scruton is as idiosyncratic in his way as Bertrand Russell in the latter’s famous History of Western Philosophy–available for “rent” on Amazon(!)–and shares his famous predecessor’s literary verve. A Superfluous Man particularly enjoys the lucidity of Mr. Scruton’s prose–here we find much light and little heat. My full review is available here.

Courtney Stackhouse
I want to write (or more currently writing) a story about Nietzche, so I have become much more interested in that historical philosophical community that ultimately rejected him, and he it. So studying these people, and philosophy, being philosophy, led me to other past biting the bullet and getting a fast schooling in the whole western tradition.
Too dense for a beginner. This was clearly a bad choice for someone who has no previous knowledge of philosophy. A specialised dictionary is absolutely necessary. The language the author uses is not accessible to the majority of the non-initiated audience. Unfortunately, I consider it a waste of time, if, like me, you don't have some average (to high) knowledge of philosophy themes.
Jul 13, 2007 Namrirru rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I don't recommend this as a first read for philosophy. He can be a bit dry and it's a struggle to pay attention even though he is concise and hits all the main points.

I recommend Betrand Russel's "The History of Western Philosophy." His writing is more clear and the book is more thorough. He's a little biased, but it's ok.
David Armando
Oct 12, 2016 David Armando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roger Scruton is a great teacher who expresses his opinions but gives enough wiggle room for the student to form his own opinion. Clear and objective.
Sharad Pandian
Dec 20, 2016 Sharad Pandian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-philosophy
Got more from this than I did from my semester-long course on Early Modern Philosophy.
Joel Zartman
Jun 18, 2016 Joel Zartman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scruton is clear and as interesting as the dull subject of modern philosophy will allow.
Jan 12, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really good summary. A good place to start, if you're interested in Philosophy.
Joel rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2016
Gembel Cemelekete
Gembel Cemelekete rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2016
Jean Paul Govè
Jean Paul Govè rated it liked it
Feb 20, 2013
Andrew Simpkins
Andrew Simpkins rated it liked it
Jan 15, 2014
Mimi rated it really liked it
Dec 15, 2011
Arnoldus rated it really liked it
Aug 02, 2008
Veriveri rated it it was ok
Jul 06, 2008
Gottfried rated it really liked it
Feb 27, 2017
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Roger Vernon Scruton is a self-employed English philosopher and writer, known in the UK as a key figure in the "New Right" in the 1980s and 1990s. He currently lives in rural Wiltshire, but was a professor of philosophy at Boston University from 1992 to 1995, and subsequently a professor at Birkbeck College, London.
More about Roger Scruton...

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