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A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts

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Kenny, A. (1986) A Path from Rome: An Autobiography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-283050-3

William C. Dowling, "Meaningless grades and a new dishonesty", Springer New York, Volume 16, Number 4 / September, 2003

Kenny, A. (2004) Ancient Philosophy: A New History of Western Philosophy, vol. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-875273-3

Kenny, A. (1995) Frege: An Introduction to the Founder of Modern Analytic Philosophy. London: Penguin Philosophy. ISBN 0-14-012550-7

The surround is numerically vast. No amount of processing power of the being is enough to understand the surround in toto or more. The being is forced to generalize what it senses in the surround through categorization, pattern recognition, causal chains, and likes. These abstractions - and reductionisms - are dependent on language tools the being has developed until the point in time (which makes everything path and history-dependent). The language tools are definitionally always inadequate - aka less than the vast reality they are to comprehend - and self-referential. Their inevitable self-referential nature causes inescapable debate-inducing trappings. They frustrate the parties involved in stymieing them from improving their comprehension. Kenny divided the book into four parts correlating to four epochs of philosophical history. Within each part are two sections, one devoted to the historical narrative and flow of ideas, the other devoted to an analysis of the key ideas within the period as they fall under the various sub-disciplines of philosophy.

After some too-meta-too-psychological-too-deep comments, I would like to make a note of several funny (to my uneducated brain) discoveries. As an avid hater of Continental Philosophy, now I know that my disinclination iss warranted and I was quite caught up when reading. My ability to further study is however limited by my inability to fully understand Hegel, who is central to everything else. Let’s move on to Analytic Philosophy, what I worship. My experience plodding through Dummett’s theory of meaning for the 5th attempt might have hinted at my illiteracy and ADHD. I also couldn’t wrap my head around Strawson’s and Davidson’s theories. I still remember a college Professor denouncing Ordinary Language Philosophy in class that he could dismiss it singlehandedly, although he never did it. I wish I were as bright as he is to comprehend all this matter. Kenny candidly describes the predicament of the beginning of the universe, which both atheists and agnostics face, writing, "According to the Big Bang Theory, the whole matter of the universe began at a particular time in the remote past. A proponent of such a theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the matter of the universe came from nothing and by nothing." [8] The themes explored by Kenny include the following: logic, epistemology, physics, metaphysics, soul and mind, and ethics and theology. Each of Kenny’s thematic chapters is lucid and well-organized, as well as reasonably comprehensive. Some offer valuable insights into the ideas raised by particular philosophers. The only thematic chapter that was somewhat difficult, if not tedious to read, was the one on logic - not an easy topic to write or read about in any case.Kenny, Anthony (2004). Ancient philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-152497-4. OCLC 171039729. Lastly, the writing is somewhat dry, but for this sacrifice the author gains clarity and some opportunities for cheeky humor. I won’t say this is an easy book because it took me forever and there is a lot of philosophical jargon (that he does explain, but still), but if you are interested in this subject and feel like you don’t know where to start (kinda like me), I would definitely recommend.

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