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February 24, 1951

A History of Philosophical Systems

JAMA. 1951;145(8):603. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920260071030

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The volume, the editor of which was assisted by 41 eminent professors of philosophy, attempts to trace the history of main patterns of thought. The wisdom of attempting to accomplish a task of such dimensions in a volume of 600 pages is somewhat questionable. For the reader who has had no previous study of philosophy the volume, because of its compactness and mass of ideas and information, would be confusing. For graduate students in philosophy the volume would probably not offer any new information but might act as a review of historical material. To deal with the life and philosophy of Plotinus in four pages, Kant's critical philosophy in eight pages and Nietzsche in four pages and to attempt an exposition of the philosophy of dialectical materialism in a few pages constitute a difficult and probably not a satisfactory task. However, the information given is authoritative and makes interesting reading.

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