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Read e-book online A Very Short History of Western Thought PDF

By Stephen Trombley

A brief, sharp and pleasing survey of the advance of all elements of the Western philosophical culture from the traditional Greeks to the current day.

Stephen Trombley's A brief historical past of Western Thought, outlines the 2,500-year background of eu rules from the philosophers of Classical Antiquity to the thinkers of today.

No significant consultant of any major strand of Western proposal escapes Trombley's realization: the Christian Scholastic theologians of the center a while, the good philosophers of the Enlightenment, the German idealists from Kant to Hegel; the utilitarians Bentham and Mill; the transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau; Kierkegaard and the existentialists; the analytic philosophers Russell, Moore, Whitehead and Wittgenstein; and - final yet now not least - the 4 shapers-in-chief of our smooth global: Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.

A brief historical past of Western Thought is a masterly distillation of two-and-a-half millennia of highbrow historical past, and a readable and enjoyable crash direction in Western philosophy.

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They are philosophical in the sense that they examine the nature of heteroerotic attraction as it might be mediated through letters, but they are not moralistic and offer no clear criticism of eros of the sort we just observed in three of the four poems from the Zurich collec- tion. Like "De puero," they have the air of the schoolroom and the literary exercise about them. If, as critics have imagined, these epistles were actually sent to young women, the most likely recipients were women, not necessarily nuns, living at the convent of Le Ronceray in Angers during the time the poet taught in that city,86 although there is no compelling reason to suppose these poems were composed for any individual.

30 He moves on to the sort of detailed description of the face that becomes stan- dard among the twelfth-century rhetoricians. Certain details speak specifically to Bathsheba's erotic power: the eyes "micant; 'coeamus' sunt quasi dicant" [sparkle; they are as if they say "let us go together"] and the mouth "os lactet, ... 31 Whatever she is, Bathsheba came about through Nature's mediation: Vt breuiter noscas totum qui noscere poscas: Hac nihil in forma natura dedit sine norma. Nil minimum, nichil est nimium per corpus.

38 30 A COSMOS OF DESIRE Odo banishes to the wintry woods those humorless contemporaries who reject the classical past for its religious errors. The grace and moderation Odo shows in his own character-his "facies mitis" and "clemens," his "forma modesta" are reflected in the style and content of carmina that avoid anything "quod corda oneret, quod pregrauet aurem" [that would oppress the heart, that would burden the ear]; permit neither "aspera, difficilis obscenaque dictio" [harsh, difficult, and obscene speech] nor the "turpis hiatus" [deformed hiatus]; and strive to flow "lepido, facili, pronoque...

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