THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS by Karl Jaspers

THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Germany's Karl Jaspers is, along with compatriot Heldegger and Frenchman artre, part of Existentialism's modern-day triumvirate. He has been principally concerned with problems of epistemology and the ethics of a world view, especially as represented by Nietzsche and Kierkeguard. Now in presumably the first volume of a major and massive work, he sets out to explore the present era's ""encyclopedic knowledge"" and ""Irresponsibility"" against the ""living company"" of the great philosophers themselves, brilliantly displaying a conscious, consistently personalized confrontation with the original texts, since ""we come closer to philosophers only if we ourselves philosophize"". Accordingly he has analyzed with five aspects in mind, the historical, thematic, genetic, practical and dynamic, and then arranged his subject matter interpretatively, as e.g. the exemplary (Socrates, Christ, etc.), the seminal (Plato, Kant, etc.), the visionary (Parameaties, Schelling etc.), the radicals (Hume, Pascal, etc.), and the systematizers (Aristotle, Hegel, etc.). The volume under discussion only deals with the paradagmatic individualism of Buddha, Christ and Confucius, who ""lived, inspired and answered on the basis of human possibilities"", and the three ""inexhaustible"" geniuses, Plato, Augustine and Kant, those who more than any others ""bring us to our own thinking"". Clearly a fancy and fluent intellectual treat.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World