Download A Very Short Introduction to Everything by Oxford University Press PDF

By Oxford University Press

The briefest of the short! provides brief descriptions of a multitiude of themes, plus symptoms on different VSIs (Very brief Introductions) that would provide extra (but nonetheless short!) informative introductions....

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But this seems wrong as well, for, after all, the literature of a time not only reflects that time, but helps mould the selfawareness and identity of those who follow and read it. We have only to think of Marx, or of the struggles of feminist writers to articulate an ideology, and their political successes when they did so. To paraphrase Nietzsche, ideas are explosions waiting to happen. But as for where philosophy is going, if this picture is right, we cannot predict that any more than we can predict the future.

In various ways they seem to suggest that ethics is somehow impossible. They are important because they themselves can seep into the moral environment. When they do, they can change what we expect from each other and ourselves, usually for the worse. Under their influence, when we look at the big words – justice, equality, freedom, rights – we see only bids for power and clashes of power, or we see only hypocrisy, or we see only our own opinions, unworthy to be foisted onto others. 30 Cynicism and self-consciousness paralyse us.

Classics: A Very Short Introduction was the first in the whole series; and, as an inaugural volume, it made clear (or so I like to imagine) that no introduction to anything about the modern world could be complete without an introduction to Classics. We did not set out to write the history of Greece and Rome, or of the ‘classics’ of Greek and Latin literature that are still read, performed, and enjoyed today (though plenty of that comes in en route). Nor was it a question of simply explaining how ancient Greece and Rome have impacted on our own world (though there is some fond discussion of T.

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