… deliciously iconoclastic and often funny.
… irreverent until you have to say stop, funny enough to make you laugh out loud … Like Prometheus, Stewart robs the fire of philosophy from the professionals who held it hostage and shares it among common mortals.
[Stewart] adopts the perspective of the absolute iconoclast … with such coherence that the result is not merely innovative and stimulating but frankly demolishing.
an open, sometimes hilarious guided tour of the history of philosophy from outside the traditional, historical perspective.
Anyone thinking of a major in philosophy would do well to read this first.
The Truth about Everything signals the defeat and/or failure of philosophy. And yet we are before a defeat and/or failure that, paradoxically, the book itself transforms into triumph. Matthew Stewart defeats philosophy, but he does it by philosophizing. And his philosophy is a good philosophy …
Stewart, an ex-academic who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Oxford and works as a management consultant in New York City, has written a deliciously iconoclastic and often funny historical survey of Western philosophy. In his analysis, Plato, Socrates, Heraclitus and their circle (”a group of people who walked around in bedsheets”) did not invent Western thought; instead, they revived an earlier, mystical tradition that perpetuated theological biases. In Stewart’s often unconventional assessments, Sartre mostly purveyed familiar truisms in fancy dress; Nietzsche was more of an enlightenment thinker than an irrationalist; and Spinoza, often regarded as a rationalist crusader for modernity, was actually a throwback to the Stoics, fetishizing reason as a magical key to the cosmos. Leavening his thoroughgoing critiques with imaginary dialogues and letters, off-the-wall parables, short biographical sketches, barbed satires and deceptively simple drawings, Stewart deflates what he considers the inflated claims, obscure language, pretensions and grandiose metaphysical structures of Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Kant, Hegel, Descartes, Kierkegaard and Foucault. This irreverent tour will goad armchair philosophers to independent thought-fulfilling Stewart’s belief that philosophy is, by its nature, the province of amateurs.