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The explosion of creative and speculative philosophy that emerged in Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century is a thrilling intellectual adventure story, as well as an essential chapter in the history of philosophy. The main theme of this story is the rise and fall of the Self. The Self in question is no ordinary self - no individual personality nor even one of the many heroic or mock-heroic personalities of the early nineteenth century. The Self is the Transcendental Self, whose nature and ambitions are unprecedently arrogant, cosmic and often obscure. In modest terms, this universal self is human nature. In less modest terms, the Transcendental Self is nothing less than God. This thesis is what Solomon terms the Transcendental Pretence. The book is an accessible introduction to the difficult authors of modern European philosophy. The major figures and movements are treated in an integrated narrative, free of jargon. Included are: The Enlightenment and Romanticism, German Idealism, Kant, Fichte, Schelling and the Romantics, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Max Bretano, Meinong, Frege, Dilthey, Bergson, Nietzsche, Husserl, Freud, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Hermeneutics, Sartre, Post-Modernism, Structuralism, Foucault and Derrida.