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Q. Are you conversant in philosophy? A. No, not at all. And that is why this book was very helpful. Yes, I knew the names, Wittgenstein, Popper, The Vienna Circle, and so forth. But who was behind the names? I knew nothing and had not read their works. This book helped me to understand the personalities of many philosophers of the early 20th century. It made clear that though they may have been geniuses, these folks acted on emotions and found conflicts just like most everyone else. Q. Do you understand their philosophies better now? A. Yes, I think so. David and John, the authors, do a good job of explaining the intricacies of these philosophies for lay people, like myself. Popper and Wittgenstein both had complex ideas, and some of their thoughts are difficult for non-philosophers. But there is a profound sadness in both of them. In Wittgenstein, apparently being unable to find a partner; in Popper finding one and then working her to death. Neither of these great men had children, so how are they to pass on their brilliant genes? Q. You find that sad? A. Yes, and also that they seem to have wasted their intelligence on something that ultimately led nowhere. I mean, what if they had become astrophysicists and discovered a way to help the world overcome environmental crises? I know, this was not their calling, not for either Wittgenstein nor Popper. So they partly made their own beds but partly responded to their environments. David and John bring all this out in a fascinating exposition that reads fast and is not cluttered with much philosophical mumbo jumbo. Q. So the general reader might enjoy the book? A. Definitely. It is a book of personalities more than a book about philosophical principles, though it has some of that also.  

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