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Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy
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Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  419 ratings  ·  91 reviews
This entertaining and enlightening graphic narrative tells the exciting story of the seventeenth-century thinkers who challenged authority--sometimes risking excommunication, prison, and even death--to lay the foundations of modern philosophy and science and help usher in a new world. With masterful storytelling and color illustrations, Heretics! offers a unique ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Princeton University Press
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Start your review of Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The 17th Century produced a multitude of free thinkers. Philosophers were no longer devoted to the writings of Aristotle and Plato. These "heretics" were determined to seek explanations for occurrences based upon reason, hypotheses and evidence.

Galileo, an astronomer, built a telescope to examine the nighttime sky. He ascertained that the moon's surface was not smooth. He viewed dark spots moving across the sun. In 1632, condemned by the church, Galileo spent the rest of his life under house
Jon Nakapalau
The foundations of modern philosophy are examined through the lens of those deemed 'heretical' and a threat to the status quo: Galileo, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Newton (and others) were cornerstones in so many of the scientific 'truths' we now accept - but what they had to go through to defend the ideas they had is a good lesson for everyone in this age of 'viral truths'.
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular work, putting dry and often unattractively abstract ideas into the graphic novel format. I especially appreciate the ways that this work outlined the logical limitations of each of the philosophers covered as they attempted to reason out the nature of reality and our physical (/metaphysical) place in it. Spinoza, especially, seems to have been close to an empirically accurate view of the world, save for the bit about politics that did not seem to logically follow from his own ...more
J.M. Knight
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I was so excited to receive a copy from netgalley to review. This is a wonderful book about the beginnings of philosophy and even early ideas in science. From Bruno in 1600 all the way to Voltaire this book covers many of the philosophers we know. I do admit I was not a complete fan of illustrations especially the incorrect portrayal of Galileo dropping spheres from the Tower of Pisa which never happened.
Sophie Lucido
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible account of history, wonderfully illustrated.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A helpful introduction to the topic.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the third philosophy comic book I've read now, so you can say I'm a little obsessed with reading comic books about philosophy. Besides reading the philosopher themselves, this form of media is the best way for me to learn about the topic. Maybe it's because they explain it in pictures rather than using complicated words. However, out of the three book I have, I think this one was the hardest to read, probably because it written by a philosophy professor rather than your average comic ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I first read an excerpt of this book in the magazine, Nautilus. The excerpt contained a witty summary of Leibniz's theory of the "best of all possible worlds," which was later (unfairly, I discovered) trashed by Voltaire in his parody, Candide. The wit of this book comes primarily through the drawings. One of my favorite images is a group of "possible worlds" sitting in a waiting room, getting ready for their auditions with God. They are lined up, sitting on a bench, with their arms and legs ...more
Panda Incognito
This graphic novel introduction to early philosophy is truly excellent. I found it new at the library last week, and it was perfect timing, because I'm in the first weeks of a philosophy class for college. I am a visual learner, and this book helped me better understand the metaphysical ideas abstractly presented in class reading. This isn't an illustrated textbook, however; it's a true graphic novel. The writing and art are sublime together, and I like how playful, inventive, and cheeky the ...more
Ed Erwin
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice overview of the ideas of 17th century philosophers and scientists. (The distinction barely existed then, and even today isn't clear-cut.) Doesn't go into great amounts of detail on any of them, but works well as an overview, much better than one might expect from a "comic". Some of their ideas seem ridiculous today, at least to me, but other of their ideas remain influential. One of the authors is an expert on Spinoza, but he gets no more emphasis here than any of the others. If any one ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a funny book, the narrative of Heretics! is woven so as to accommodate an amusing, accessible and tangible account of the key metaphysical preoccupations of 17/18 century European and English philosophy. The striking visual setting of the comic genre coupled with Nadler's writing, the characters's conversational exchange of ideas and occasional squabble make for a mostly enjoyable ride.

The graphic narrative form coushins the reader and does a great job of making presentable material that
Pavol Hardos

Fun & engaging but not even comics can make Descartes & Leibniz interesting
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heretics, by Steven and Ben Nadler, is a nearly 200-page graphic run-through of, as the subtitle says, “The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy”. More specifically, it covers the writings/arguments of Seventeenth Century figures, including but not limited to: Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Anne Conway, Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Gottfried Leibniz, John Locke, Nicolas Malebranche, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, and Bento Spinoza. It’s an engaging and informative exploration ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
If all you know of Calvin and Hobbs is that it was a comic strip, rather than who the two men were, then this book could be for you. If all you know of Issic Newton was the apple falling on his head, and not his philosophical background, this book could be for you. And if all you ever wondered where Candid came up with the idea of this world being the best of all possible worlds, then you should read this book to see where it all came form.

It is done as a graphic novel, which makes it very
Susan K Perry
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was a fun idea to take some of the most complex ideas in all of philosophy and turn them into a graphic (comic) book. It seems to me that Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler did a very pleasing job of leading the reader from page to page, each famous philosopher's great ideas leading to the next (either building on them or opposed utterly to them). Obviously, not all of a reader's (my) questions were answered, but it is so easy these days to pursue any question and go more deeply into that subject. ...more
Matthew Noe
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5. I loved this and would recommend it as a text for an intro level course. There are a few unclear panels though (some folks can look a little too similar in drawing) that need more effort than they should to read.
Michael Scott
i Heretics! The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy by the father-son duo Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler tells the history of scientific thought in the 17th century. Overall, good introduction to the topic, but the format is not used to full potential.

++/- Following the heights of Catholic church abuses and the horrors of the Inquisition, the 17th century set the philosophical and practical foundations of modern science. The story follows 18 key characters, and in particular
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
As all narratives necessarily do, there is a bias in the telling. The book appears to portray religion as being opposed to developing philosophical discourse and scientific advances- this is especially apparent at the end. While certainly there were conflicts involving the church during the time periods covered, that is undeniable, it is reductionistic to say they were only about these ideas. A number of factors were involved primary the radical political and social changes. That's not in any ...more
Tryniti Thresher
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This certainly made a difficult-to-read history on philosophy and birth of scientific thinking much easier to read. Indeed, it may be the only way may read it at all. The comics were enjoyable, and the book informative and sticking to facts, while sneaking in some humor. Overall, a wonderful addition to the world of non-fiction literature.
Leslie Ann
A fun romp through 17th-century Western European philosophy.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
a graphic narrative...what a surprise! Because of the format, I had trouble adjusting my reading to do the subject matter justice. It covers many centuries and many philosophers and scientists devoted to teasing out some very subtle differences in thinking. I found it difficult to avoid skimming and dwelling on the artwork and as a result missed much of the meat of the topic. Probably just a matter of personal tAste. A clever approach to a generally dry and complex topic.
Rachel Parrott
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
"Heretics!" is a quick visit to many of the 1700's free thinkers who sharp modern thought and worldview.

My copy was a gift through Goodreads First Reads.
Nick Carraway LLC
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
1) “Rome, 1600 - The 17th century did not start out well for philosophy. Giordano Bruno had been teaching that the Earth is not the center of the universe, and that the stars were suns with planets orbiting them. His theological and political views were also highly unorthodox. He was declared a heretic by the Roman Inquisition and sentenced to death. On February 17, 1600, in the Campo de’ Fiori in Rome, Giordano Bruno was burned alive at the stake.”

2) “With the mechanical philosophy, Descartes
Eduard Barbu
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A cartoon presentation of some important philosophers who shaped modernity. You will meet the usual " culprits " : Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Leibniz and Hobbes, but also less discussed thinkers like: Henry More or Anne Conway. Their main ideas are well presented, when the author takes time to present them. Steven Nadler is a great scholar of Spinoza, an eloquent speaker, with an ability of making clear abstruse philosophic ideas. I was disappointed with the presentation of Giordano Bruno ...more
Bry Willis
This was a fun graphic novel on a philosophical history, primarily 17th century Enlightenment and its precursors. Its focus was on the friction the church and religion created on the 'progress' of scientific enquiry. Being a graphic novel, it only took a couple hours, but it was interesting and informative, even introducing some lesser known contributors.

I liked how it created a linked storyline passing the thought of one thinker to the next as well as the subsequent, rejection, integration, or
Russ Johnston
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this brief overview of the different philosophers who had an impact on the progression of philosophy from the 1600's to the late 1800's.

Despite the illustrations, this is not a book for children's comprehension. It also presupposes some knowledge of the subject of philosophy. In attempting to balance a work which is approachable but also insightful into the field, it errs (slightly) on the side of some philosophical exposure or at least an appreciation of the field such that the
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easy to understand and interestingly illustrated lesson in seventeenth century philosophers.

Bento de Spinoza was the most interesting guy talked about. I haven't heard of him before but he had some pretty out there, bold ideas for his time. And of course, John Locke, whom I've always liked several ideas of his. Interesting to know of his sort of rivalry with Gottfried Leibniz, who was new to me too. I appreciate the inclusion of two ladies, however brief.
Clement Ying
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good introductory text to modern philosophy.

The majority of the book concerned the age-old discussion on min-body dualism. This quarrel will never end, because either mind or body are our human nature. In our everlasting fight between the mind and the body, both sanity and profanity get perpetuated.

Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A clever & entertaining graphic presentation of the big ideas in the 17th century that shaped Western thought from then on. The authors even have the greats - Galileo, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Newton etc. - sometimes talking to each other, across time & space.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very beautiful and economic illustrations, consistent pacing throughout, with a thoroughness, clarity, and dialog in regards to each philosopher the work explored that I hadn't anticipated. This book might easily be used as a general introduction primer in comics form for early modern Western philosophers.
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Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. His books include Rembrandt's Jews, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Spinoza: A Life, which won the Koret Jewish Book Award; and A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza's Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton).