Against the Idols of the Age

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, 2001 - Philosophy - 347 pages

"Stove was undoubtedly the most stylish and witty writer of all philosphers of the last one hundred years, if not of all time. When it comes to attacking the absurdities of twentieth century intellectual movements no one else came close, and certainly no one else was as funny. The greatest iconoclast of the twentieth century, we can now see in retrospect, was not any of the European avant-garde, most of whom in fact, epitomized the spirit of the century perfectly, but this no nonsense Australian. His greatest contributions were in the philosophy of science, in particular in his defense of inductive reasoning, and in his attack on the sort of irrationalism manifested by his four horsemen, Popper, Kuhn, Lalatos, and Feyerabend."--The Review of Metaphysics

"A self-proclaimed neo-positivist-and a brilliant, truculent, cantankerous essayist-Stove attacks everything from contemporary philosophy of science and evolutionary theory to religious belief and intellectual equality of women."-The Weekly Standard

"What separates Stove fromyour average angry-eyed reactionaryis the startling brilliant way that he argues, combiningplain horse sense with the most nimble and skillful philosophical reasoning this side of Hume, along with a breathtaking wit." -Partisan Review

"An early, fearless, sometimes reckless combatant in the science and culture warsStove fought wittily and two-fistedly on the side of empirical realism."-Choice


Little known outside his native Australia, David Stove was one of the most illuminating and brilliant philosophical essayists of the postwar era. A fearless attacker of intellectual and cultural orthodoxies, Stove left powerful critiques of scientific irrationalism, Darwinian theories of human behavior, and philosophical idealism. Stove's writing is both rigorous and immensely readable. It is, in the words of Roger Kimball, "an invigorating blend of analytic lucidity, mordant humor, and an amount of common sense too great to be called 'common.'"

Whether the subject is race, feminism, the Enlightenment, or the demand for "non-coercive philosophy," Stove is on the mark with a battery of impressive arguments expressed in sharp, uncompromising prose. Against the Idols of the Age concludes with a generous sampling of his blistering attacks on Darwinism.

David Stove (1927-1994) taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and, until his retirement in 1988, at the University of Sydney. He was the author of numerous essays, articles, and several books including Anything Goes: Origins of the Cult of Scientific Irrationalism, The Plato Cult and Other Intellectual Follies, and two posthumously published volumes, Darwinian Fairytales and Cricket versus Republicanism.

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator. He is author of Tenured Radicals (newly revised and expanded) The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America, and, most recently, Experiments Against Reality: The Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age.

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User Review  - GaryWolf - LibraryThing

As it turned out, reading "Against the Idols of the Age," an anthology of Stove's work, was a good decision. I received inspiration not because the book reassured me, as in "don't worry, everything ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

David Stove (1927-1994) taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. He was a critic of sociobiology, Marxism, feminism, and postmodernism. He is the author of numerous books, including The Rationality of Induction; What's Wrong with Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment; and Against the Idols of the Age.

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Roger Kimball is co-editor and publisher of The New Criterion and president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is also an art critic for the London Spectator and National Review. He is author of numerous titles including The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity.

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