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Descartes in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes) [Paperback]

By Paul Strathern (Author)
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Item description for Descartes in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes) by Paul Strathern...

Explores the ideas of philosopher Rene Descartes, including an appraisal of his works and an analysis of his life.

Publishers Description
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. Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise. Jim Holt, Wall Street Journal. These brief and enlightening explorations of our greatest thinkers bring their ideas to life in entertaining and accessible fashion. Philosophical thought is deciphered and made comprehensive and interesting to almost everyone. Far from being a novelty, each book is a highly refined appraisal of the philosopher and his work, authoritative and clearly presented."

Citations And Professional Reviews
Descartes in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes) by Paul Strathern has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Booklist - 10/15/1996 page 381
  • Library Journal - 11/01/1996 page 70

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
Pages   91
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.04" Width: 5.07" Height: 0.3"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1996
Publisher   Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
ISBN  1566631297  
ISBN13  9781566631297  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Strathern

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

Paul Strathern currently resides in London. Paul Strathern was born in 1940.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History, 17th & 18th Century
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Movements > Rationalism

Reviews - What do customers think about Descartes in 90 Minutes (Philosophers in 90 Minutes)?

Find about Descartes somewhere else  Mar 31, 2008
Don't waste your money; go to Wikipedia instead. You'll get better and more objective information about Descartes there. The author takes a very subjective position and not only presents aspects of Descartes life, (and not so much his ideas), but also takes every opportunity to disparage and criticize other thinkers. Some times is even laughable.
I'm not sure what point he was trying to make but he mentions and celebrates the fact that Descartes used to get up at noon at least ten times during the pamphlet.
A study into the mind of a genius.  Jan 26, 2008
Rene Descartes was one of A kind, not only a philosopher,
mathematician, physicist,and Isaac Newtons mentor. He was
a good person looking for truth. What I admired the most
about Descartes; was his search for God & his truths. He
knew that the physical body was separate from the spirit
body, interestingly so did Aristotle; who descartes had
studied with great interest.

The life and the main ideas of the work   Mar 21, 2005
Descartes was like so many of the great philosophers orphaned when young. A lonely child never given much affection he wandered the world never really able to make a place home. But when he wandered he thought. And his thought was remarkably original not only in philosophy, but in various sciences including astronomy and physics, and in mathematics. He made major contributions in more than one area including supplying the Cartesian coordinates idea for mathematics. His great achievement according to Strethan is his being the first philosopher to break the stranglehold of Aristotelian thought, and liberate the world to focus on the thinking individual and his subjectivity. In the famous Cogito Ergo Sum Descartes begins by doubting everything and comes to the one certainty which should help him build another system of thought. Strathern makes the point that the Thirty Years War the uncertain times in which he lived made it somehow necessary for him to seek out ' certainty'. From his thinking self he goes to establish the reality of the world, and the reality of God.
Descartes a devout Catholic died in Protestant Sweden on a fools error arranged at the whim of a King.
Entertaining biography, but philosophy too sketchy  Apr 2, 2001
Anyone who attempts to make philosophy accessible to non-academics certainly has the tip of my hat, but DESCARTES IN 90 MINUTES sacrifices too much substance in the interest of readability. This book would be OK for a high school student preparing a short paper or presentation on French philosopher/mathematician Rene Descarte, but for those of us who are motivated by anything more than casual curiosity about philosophers will be left unsatisfied.

I did learn quite a few facts from this very clearly-written book, such as Descarte's odd sleeping habits, his apparent facility in composing musical verse, and his compulsive wanderlust. The problem is that biographies of Great Thinkers just don't have a lot of impact without including some exposition of their Great Thoughts. "I think, therefore I am," is about as deep as it gets here.

Strathern Review  Dec 1, 2000
Starthern's goal is to provide a quick, flawless guide to the major thinkers of the world: I'm unclear as to whether he succeeded or not. I suppose he succeeds simply because he has published these works, people buy them, and they are quite popular. I am not a stickler for erudition, I would have like to have learned from this series, but there just isn't enough information on the philosopher's work. If you're in a philosophy class and want to get a quick preview of what you're going to learn, chances are you will find more or less the same information in the introduction of your text. If you just want to learn on your own, it's your decision as to what you're looking for. For example, this is what I learned about Descartes from this book:

1) He was an eccentric who liked to sleep in 2) His theories on mathmatics were contraversial 3) He believes that we exist simply because we think 4) He died for a silly reason.

That's it folks. #2 & 3 may seem exciting, but there is no explanation as to why or how these manifests themself.


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