Ancients and the Moderns, The

978-1-58731-024-9
Paper $23
248 pages, preface, notes, index, 6"x9", reprint of the 1989 edition

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Ancients and the Moderns, The

Rethinking Modernity

Rosen, Stanley

In this insightful and controversial book, Rosen takes a new look at the famous "quarrel" that the moderns have with the ancients, analyzing and comparing ancient philosophers and modern Continental and analytical thinkers from Plato, Descartes, and Kant to Fichte, Nietzsche, and Rorty. He urges that we not dismiss the classical heritage but appropriate it, for this appropriation is an indispensable step in the process of legitimizing our historical experience.

According to Rosen, the quarrel that is significant is not between ancients and moderns but between philosophy and sophistry, for the continuous attempt of Western civilization to prevent playfulness from degenerating into frivolity constitutes the unity of historical experience. The contemporary crisis of modernity as expressed by catchwords such as post-modernism, antiplatonism, postphilosophy, and deconstruction, could lead to a disintegration of this historical unity. But it also presents an opportunity for rejuvenation, provided that we are capable of the fidelity to the past that is the necessary condition for a future.

"A remarkable new, ground-breaking look at the Battle of the Books. . . Rosen’s insightful, closely reasoned study is an important contribution to the ongoing debate on the classics in the core curriculum." – Meyer Reinhold, Classical World

"The book is important, the time for its reception is ripe, and it will make a significant difference in the way we view philosophy over the coming decades." – Kenly Dove, SUNY, Purchase