A veteran of 11 books, Sharfstein (philosophy, Tel-Aviv U.) offers a personal perspective on what he contends are the three great philosophical traditions, from China, Europe, and India. He offers evidence that despite their considerable differences they fundamentally resemble each other in abstract principles, especially relating to the core areas of metaphysics and epistemology. He urges western students of philosophy to study the others from the very beginning along with their own. His arrangement is thematic and comparative, discussing for example Hsnn-tze and Aristotle under early rational synthesis, and Shankara and Spinoza under immanent-transcendent holism. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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During the years when I was writing A Comparative History of World Philosophy I was, first, educating myself and, second, carrying on a dialogue with a possible reader. Though alive only in my imagination, this reader was very real to me. I felt that I had to satisfy both of us. But because my voice was that of one human being talking to another, I could not write in the wooden, impersonal style of so many textbooks and encyclopedias. And because the philosophers, the subjects of the conversation, were so different from both of us and from one another, each of them had to have had to be shown to have an individual array of arguments put in an unmistakably individual style. Attentive to the cultural boundaries that were being crossed, my real imaginary reader kept asking me, "How can I be sure that you've got this argument right?" I had to confess now and then that I was not quite sure, and I always obliged myself to give references so that the reader could check my sources and judge independently. It was also crucial to me to organize the history so as to make comparisons easier, more natural, and more exact. I won't go through the difficulties that stand in the way of a plausible comparative history, or repeat the rewarding discoveries that I made, for myself and my reader. Of course, such a history faces stubborn old problems. How many identifiable philosophical cultures have there been? Has philosophy been essential to human culture? Has it in any way made general progress? Is the conception of philosophy basically the same in the different philosophical traditions; and what, in this context, can "basically the same" mean? Are Eastern philosophies as a whole different from those of the West? Has one philosophical culture been superior, in particular or in general to another? I've dealt with such problems carefully and, I hope, reasonably. Considering their age, importance, and difficulty, they deserve to be answered with careful respect. It's been and remains a great adventure!
Ben-Ami ScharfsteinAbout the Author:
Ben-Ami Scharfstein is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Tel-Aviv University. He is the author of eleven books, including Amoral Politics: The Persistent Truth of Machiavellism and Ineffability: The Failure of Words in Philosophy and Religion, both published by SUNY Press.
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Book Description State Univ of New York Pr, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110791436837