This is really a great introduction to philosophy, even considering its age. Why is it worth reading? Not because, like many "introductions", it inundates the reader with a chronological sweep of philosophical theory, but because it initiates the reader into the realm of philosophical thought from the ground up by asking the questions which philosophy tries to answer, while introducing key philosophical concepts and jargon (monism vs. dualism, rationalism vs. empiricism, etc.). It is, of course, not in any way comprehensive, but if you are looking for a book to draw you into the realm of philosophy as a whole before moving on to reading key texts (such as the Critique of Pure Reason or Essay Concerning Human Understanding) this is a great introduction to put ideas in context. Highly recommended.
*sigh* How does one add a review to a collection of heated, acrimonious exchanges which reveal the authors' biases but little about this book? Of course this is inevitable. A book which has left such a strong and controversial footprint upon the sands of time, and which is only the tip of the iceberg of an intriguing, difficult, and even more controversial system of thought, is bound to produce such a reaction. Personally, as an ardent classical liberal and believer in free-market capitalism, I disagree strongly with the conclusions of this volume; but I am not here to defend my position, and the fact is I believe everyone should read Marx, first for historical insight, but also to be challenged mentally. There is a dangerous tendency in our society only to read books with which one agrees. So-called 'conservatives' read books by 'conservatives' presenting a 'conservative' view on the world; 'liberals' read books by 'liberals' which fit everything within a tidy 'liberal' worldview. Yet this kind of thinking gets one nowhere productive. If I followed this trend, I wouldn't be where I am today. Therefore, rather than either run on a tirade against Marx's views or wax eloquent on his virtues or nitpick his faults, I will simply urge the reader to carefully read and consider what Marx has to say. That is all. One would hope this would be obvious, but judging by other reader responses, that is unfortunately not the case.
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