Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A History of Thinking

I forgot to mention yesterday that while browsing at the used bookstore philosophy section I found a history of philosophy book, The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View by Richard Tarnas. It was published in 1991. There are, of course many problems with the book already starting with the title. Who is the "Our" here? I understand that what is meant is "Western" but that's what he should have said then instead of implying by the "Our" that the West is some sort of homogenous mass. But of course there is then revealed another issue. Studying Western thought as a homogenous mass in the first place, as if there has been no influence from other cultures is wrong. The book is broken up into time periods--The Greek World View, The Transformation of the Classical Era, The Christian World View, The Transformation of the Medieval Era, The Modern World View, The Transformation of the Modern Era and an Epilogue. Tarnas does state in his Introduction that the dates and time periods are arbitrary constructions so I give him credit for that. As many issues as there are with such a survey, I can't think of any other way in order to get some sort of context for further learning. It is a jumping off point, not an end. At least that's my justification for it. I'll let you know how it goes.