As Morris disarmingly confesses, this book is a vendetta ... It is also an odd vendetta. Much of The Ashtray is witty, ebullient, and generous in spirit. Morris shares his wide range of interests, and his enthusiasm for philosophy is infectious. Brilliantly chosen images adorn the pages ... He conveys the excitement of what might seem abstract intellectual questions. Vendettas are typically grim. This one is more of a romp ... Morris attacks Kuhn in the time-honored Johnsonian style. The Ashtray goes astray already at its subtitle ... The lively expositions of Putnam and Kripke are part of what make The Ashtray worth reading ... the book suffers from that implacable pursuit, as violent in its way as the original throwing of the ashtray. Just as Kuhn’s better self emerged when he was able to escape his sense of being misunderstood and vilified for sins he had never committed, so Morris might aspire to write the delightful book he partially offers here.
...a scrappy continuation of his disagreement with Kuhn ... it might have been titled Errol Morris Kicks a Rock ... The Ashtray strikes me as an unlikely source for reaching a better understanding of Kuhn; Morris dislikes him too much and can’t be trusted not to stack the deck against him ... But the book is a marvelous tool for the better understanding of Errol Morris, who is both a great artist and a fascinating individual in his own right.
This book is his long-brewed revenge ... There’s a really big problem with Morris’s account, and it’s right there in his book’s subtitle: Kuhn did not, in fact, 'deny reality.' He simply insisted that we could ultimately never know the fundamental truth about reality ... this book’s central and rather hysterically repeated accusation, that Kuhn thought reality didn’t exist and science was merely a social power game, is just plain wrong ... [Morris is] going on a flamethrower rampage from the start in an attempt to reduce everything to smouldering ash.