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Fifty Thinkers Who Shaped the Modern World

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416 pages4 hours

Summary

The development of modern thought is traced through a sequence of accessible profiles of the most influential thinkers in every domain of intellectual endeavor since 1789

No major representative of post-Enlightenment thought escapes Trombley's attention in this history: the German idealists Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel; the utilitarians Bentham and Mill; the transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau; Kierkegaard and the existentialists; founders of new fields of inquiry such as Weber, Durkheim, and C.S. Peirce; the analytic philosophers Russell, Moore, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein; political leaders from Mohandas K. Gandhi to Adolf Hitler; and—last but not least—the four shapers-in-chief of our modern world: the philosopher, historian, and political theorist Karl Marx; the naturalist Charles Darwin, proposer of the theory of evolution; Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; and the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, begetter of the special and general theories of relativity and founder of post-Newtonian physics. This book offers a crisp analysis of their key ideas, and in some cases a reevaluation of their importance as we proceed into the 21st century.

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