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Main page » Non-Fiction » Immanuel Kant (S U N Y Series in Ethical Theory)

Immanuel Kant (S U N Y Series in Ethical Theory)


Both Professor Hffe and the translator deserve kudos for this work. Most other introductions to Kant that I have seen are either too superficial, or they retain too much of Kant's heavy writing style (which tends to translate poorly into English), in order to be really useful. By contrast, Professor Hffe's work summarizes everything important in Kant's philosophy in a way that is both insightful and easy to read.

The organization of Professor Hffe's book is very helpful to a proper understanding of Kant's philosophy. This book discusses Kant's life work organized according to the three famous questions that Kant posed, i.e., what can I know? what ought I to do? what may I hope?. This organization retains Kant's original didactic purpose, and helps the reader understand how the conclusions of Kant's moral and religious philosophy are directly connected with his critical analysis of reason itself.

Professor Hffe discusses, with a remarkable thoroughness for a book that is less than 300 pages long, the problems of Kant's philosophy and its relevance for our modern world. This is handled in a superb and unbiased manner. No one person can be expected to provide solutions for every philosophical problem facing humanity, and the author discusses those few areas in which Kant's solutions rested, without question, on inadequate foundations; on the other hand, Professor Hffe defuses the commonly made assertion that non-Euclidean geometry and quantum mechanics should have "undermined" Kant's philosophy, and shows that the reasoning behind this assertion is, in effect, inadmissible.

The writing style of this book is another reason for buying it. This book is completely free of scholastic obscurantism. There are no yawn-inducing pile-ups of abstract terms derived from Latin or Greek. Difficult and complex problems are never explained in Ciceronian periods. Single-clause sentences are the rule rather than the exception. I assume that the German original must have been written in this way, but it must then also be said that the translator, Marshall Farrier, has succeeded where few people have, i.e., in having translated a German work about philosophy into clear and natural English.

This is an excellent introduction to Kant's philosophy. I know of no better in the English language.

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Tags: Kants, philosophy, Professor, Hffes, organization