The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View

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Ballantine, 1993 - Philosophy - 544 pages
3 Reviews
"[This] magnificent critical survey, with its inherent respect for both the 'Westt's mainstream high culture' and the 'radically changing world' of the 1990s, offers a new breakthrough for lay and scholarly readers alike....Allows readers to grasp the big picture of Western culture for the first time".
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Here are the great minds of Western civilization and their pivotal ideas, from Plato to Hegel, from Augustine to Nietzsche, from Copernicus to Freud. Richard Tarnas performs the near-miracle of describing profound philosophical concepts simply but without simplifying them. Ten years in the making and already hailed as a classic, THE PASSION OF THE WESERN MIND is truly a complete liberal education in a single volume.
 

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I am in a philosophy class that requires this text and I have to preface my response with the fact that, since my textbook has not yet arrived, I had to make due with what I could read of the free text online - which really did not help in the least for my assignments. I barely took away anything from the reading material - why? Because, it seems, the style is that of someone who is writing for self-edification and for a very specific audience, employing intricate sentence structures and language that is seldom used in everyday conversation - therefore the reading is hardly for the everyday person. Now, I am an avid reader, prior English Major, and novelist, so I am no stranger to "big words" or convoluted prose, but I prefer books, especially textbooks, that I can read and understand in one sitting. For example, when I read, "The red color of an object is red because it participates in archetypal redness, and human perception registers red by the virtue of the mind's participation in the same Idea," (page 10) all I could think was, "What the crap?!"
Bottom Line: Since one might have to sift through the the meandering maze of BS to get to the actual meaning of the text, this book is not layman-friendly in any sense - though experienced scholars of the field would probably enjoy it.
 

Contents

The Archetypal Fom1s
6
Ideas and Gods
13
Contents xi
28
The Philosophers Quest and the Universal Mind
41
The Problem of the Planets
48
Aristotle and the Greek Balance
55
The Dual Legacy
69
Crosscurrents of the Hellenistic Matrix
75
Critical Scholasticism and Ockhams Razor
201
The Rebirth of Classical Humanism
209
At the Threshold
220
The Reformation
233
The Scientific Revolution
248
The Philosophical Revolution
272
The Transformation of the Modern Era
325
The SelfCritique of the Modern Mind
333

The Emergence of Christianity
89
Classical Elements and the Platonic Inheritance
98
The Conversion of the Pagan Mind
106
Contraries Within the Christian Vision
120
Dualistic Christianity
130
Further Conttaries and the Augustinian Legacy
138
The Holy Spirit and Its Vicissitudes
155
The Virgin Mary and the Mother Church
162
The Transformation of the Medieval Era
171
The Quest of Thomas Aquinas
179
Further Developments in the High Middle Ages
191
The Crisis of Modem Science
357
Romanticism and Its Fate
366
The Postmodem Mind
395
At the Millennium
411
Knowledge and the Unconscious
422
The Evolution of World Views
433
Bringing It All Back Home
441
Notes
468
Bibliography
494
Acknowledgments
513
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Richard Tarnas is a cultural historian and professor of philosophy and psychology and the author of "The Passion of the Western Mind," He teaches on the faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara.

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