Item description for Philosophy For Beginners (For Beginners) by Richard Osborne & Ralph Edney...
Why does philosophy give some people a headache, others a real buzz, and yet others a feeling that it is subversive and dangerous? Why do a lot of people think philosophy is totally irrelevant? What is philosophy anyway?The ABCs of philosophy - easy to understand but never simplistic.Beginning with basic questions posed by the ancient Greeks - What is the world made of? What is a man? What is knowledge? What is good and evil? - Philosophy For Beginners traces the development of these questions as the key to understanding how Western philosophy developed over the last 2,500 years.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9.25" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Aug 21, 2007
Publisher For Beginners
ISBN 1934389021 ISBN13 9781934389027
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More About Richard Osborne & Ralph Edney
Richard Osborne is a philosopher and writer with special interests in Art, Technology and contemporary culture. He is the author of several works "including Art Theory For Beginners, Freud For Beginners, Introducing Sociology" and "Megawords," a cultural dictionary for the humanities. He has also written extensively on Philosophy and culture in a wide range of journals from Oslo to Osaka, including work on Art and the Mass Media. He has also written "The Universe," a history of scientific thinking of ideas of the Universe, which was published in the UK and America. His two most recent books are "Philosophy in Art" (Zidane Press) 2006 and "AES+F. Last Riot 2. "A study of the work of the celebrated Russian art group who have been exhibited in many countries.
Richard Osborne has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Philosophy For Beginners (For Beginners)?
A Serious Text Jan 7, 2008
There is alot to learn from this valuble "comic book." Through drawings and clever text, Osborne introduces a tense subject that is often portrayed in a very serious and grim light. This book was given to me by a professor and I still refer back to it from time and time-always finding something new and refreshing. Do not be fooled by the "for beginners" subtext, there is information herein that a seasoned expert could profit from. Those who rule this book out based on appearance are doing themselves a great injustice.
Irresponsibly biased, so a bad introduction... Nov 5, 2006
The quick overview to Western Philosophy in comic form sounds like a good idea, and often the books in this series do indeed break down complex thought into digestible form. But unfortunately, Osborne's apparent prejudices, especially against Christianity, prevent this effort from succeeding similarly.
There is simply no call for Osbourne's dismissive, sneering take on Christianity in a book purporting to be an introduction to philosophy. Religious thought (including Christianity) and philosophical thought can harmonize; they do not have to be put into opposition against each other. Yet Osborne feels it necessary to imply that Christianity is a hopeless fraud from its outset, one which nevertheless succeeded in sticking around for 2000 years due to dumb luck and an iron fist. Osbourne's beef is apparently not against religion per se: Islam is allowed to be beautiful and benevolent. Christianity on the other hand is characterized as being hapless, crude, and vehemently anti-intellectual, a sect only just saved from dying out by the hasty interference of St. Paul. It all smacks of someone with an ax to grind.
Osbourne's prejudices show up in other ways too. For instance, Feminism gets one page, and important thinkers like Foucault and Lacan share a single page, while Marx gets eight. The whole book suffers from this sort of too-much-too-little choppiness, spending undue proportions of space on some figures and barely acknowledging others.
Osbourne's Marxist sympathies may explain some of his religious animosity, but really, his jibes against Christianity aren't really intellectually based. Although the early portion of the book on classical philosophers is helpful (that's where that extra star comes from in my rating!), once he moves to religion things get snarky and cynical--like a church-raised adolescent who suddenly realizes he can rebel. The really sad thing is that a fair account of Christian philosophical contributions (and the advances in thought that sometimes ran counter to them) would have been interesting and informative while still allowing Osborne to get in his licks in against the church, if that's what he really wanted. There've been plenty of philosophical goofs committed by Christian thinkers, and plenty of secular thinkers to correct them. Instead Osbourne would rather sensationalize about bad popes and repeat the tired (and unhistorical) argument that Christianity has only acted against the intelligentsia for all of its 2000 years in existence.
Unfortunately, then, the anti-Christian bias is so pronounced and obvious that this affair often degenerates into a rant. Read a real introduction to philosophy book instead, even an old one like Frost's Ideas or From Socrates to Sartre. Avoid this unless, like Osborne, you just enjoy slapping the church.
Unfair portrayal of religious origins Oct 3, 2006
OK. I'm going to cop a few 'unhelpfuls' for this one (mostly because those into philosophy as distinct from theology - if there really is such a dichotomy - will be reading this page). But who cares? I must say this.
I note on page 28, the advent of Jesus Christ's arrival on the scene:
"Christianity is supposedly about the Bible and Christ, but that's just what they tell the punters. It started off from myth, Moses, parables, stories about Jesus, and bits of mystical philosphy from here and there."
So, according to this book, Christianity is basically for losers who don't know their history and believe what "the church" has constructed for them. Then comes Islam, on page 43:
"Mohammed preached a simple monotheism full of the chivalrous Bedouin sentiments of the desert - kindliness, generosity and brotherhood. He abolished the old blood-feuds between Arabs, and showed a practical attitude to trade and poverty.
Although missionary in outlook, the Moslems gained ascendancy over the weak and disorganised older societies without much bloodshed, and showed a new religious tolerance."
Now, it is the "without much bloodshed" that is the most ironic, ludicrous exposure of the authors' bias. There was *more* bloodshed by Muslims in the first two centuries of Islam than there was in the first two centuries of Christianity. To say "not much violence" with regard to the expansion of Islam... compared to what? Christianity? Compared to the brutal enforcement of atheism by communist regimes?
No! Mohammed cruelly silenced his critics and committed genocide against the Jewish tribes known as the Quraish.
This beginner found this book useful Mar 12, 2006
I rather enjoyed this book and sourced it out after reading a library copy some years ago which left an impression on me.
A good starting point I suppose and one that doesn't scare off the reader.
For beginners? Or for kids? Jan 31, 2006
This book introduces the great names of the western philosophy in a chronological order, together with some of their most influential thoughts. It is presented as a comic book which is easy to read, but at the same time, will not give you any depth of the topics it covers. So if this is really your first book in philosophy, you may still be hanging out there with a fuzzy idea what philosophy is all about. You definitely need another more formal introductory book for a better grasp of the topic. But if you are gonna do so, this book serves its purpose.
The book is roughly divided into 4 parts (the author did not give any sections to the time-line though), namely the pre-medieval philosophy (p.1-57) Renaissance and the Age of Reason (p.58-99), the Enlightenment (p.100-152), and the contemporary philosophy (p.153-182). Personally I am more interested in the history of philosophy during the 18th and 19th century, and this book gave me a condensed tutorial on main ideas such as idealism/materialism, Hegelianism/positivism etc. It is always a good idea to look up the web (or other reference) once more to make sure the terms didn't get mis-interpreted.
I think this book is also good for kids, with all its comic strips and concise descriptions. If you have kids at home, it is a good idea to have books such as this one around.