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A Little History of Philosophy

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Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores th Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about the world and how best to live in it. In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton guides us on a chronological tour of the major ideas in the history of philosophy. He provides interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers from Socrates, who chose to die by hemlock poisoning rather than live on without the freedom to think for himself, to Peter Singer, who asks the disquieting philosophical and ethical questions that haunt our own times. Warburton not only makes philosophy accessible, he offers inspiration to think, argue, reason, and ask in the tradition of Socrates. A Little History of Philosophy presents the grand sweep of humanity's search for philosophical understanding and invites all to join in the discussion.


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Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores th Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about the world and how best to live in it. In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton guides us on a chronological tour of the major ideas in the history of philosophy. He provides interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers from Socrates, who chose to die by hemlock poisoning rather than live on without the freedom to think for himself, to Peter Singer, who asks the disquieting philosophical and ethical questions that haunt our own times. Warburton not only makes philosophy accessible, he offers inspiration to think, argue, reason, and ask in the tradition of Socrates. A Little History of Philosophy presents the grand sweep of humanity's search for philosophical understanding and invites all to join in the discussion.

30 review for A Little History of Philosophy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Whitaker

    I'm a Philosophy student and my teacher recommended this book as she is a fan of Warburton. It's extremely clear and accessible - a true enjoyment for beginners and philosophy veterans alike! I particularly enjoyed how he linked the theories together (Brentham to Mill, Mill to Russell etc) so one could clearly see where each philosopher fit into the grand scheme of things. Reading this book I also discovered new Philosophers I hadn't come across in my class and my next step is to go onto readi I'm a Philosophy student and my teacher recommended this book as she is a fan of Warburton. It's extremely clear and accessible - a true enjoyment for beginners and philosophy veterans alike! I particularly enjoyed how he linked the theories together (Brentham to Mill, Mill to Russell etc) so one could clearly see where each philosopher fit into the grand scheme of things. Reading this book I also discovered new Philosophers I hadn't come across in my class and my next step is to go onto reading their original works. Warburton's book is a beautiful introduction to new Philosophies and has helped clear up some of the ones I've learned in class. I particularly enjoyed the story of Schopenhauer and the old lady. His philosophy is one I won't forget in a hurry because of how much I laughed at it! Warburton clearly has a passion for the subject and his wide range of knowledge is displayed here for us all to get a hold of. In short, the book is clear, entertaining and wonderful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alec Rogers

    Reading Nigel Warburton’s A Little History of Philosophy makes me appreciate even more (if that is possible) EH Gombrich’s A Little History of the World. In about 300 pages, Gombrich relayed just about every event of significance in world history in an erudite, extraordinarily humane way. His book has been in print for so long and in so many languages, it has inspired an attempt to do the same for philosophy. Unfortunately, Warburton’s efforts fall short in many respects, despite providing a del Reading Nigel Warburton’s A Little History of Philosophy makes me appreciate even more (if that is possible) EH Gombrich’s A Little History of the World. In about 300 pages, Gombrich relayed just about every event of significance in world history in an erudite, extraordinarily humane way. His book has been in print for so long and in so many languages, it has inspired an attempt to do the same for philosophy. Unfortunately, Warburton’s efforts fall short in many respects, despite providing a delightful entre for true neophytes. A Little History of Philosophy tries to accomplish its task by breaking the development of philosophy up into 40 chapters, each focused on one or two philosophers. Each contains some brief biographical material and a discussion of one or two ideas associated with him or her. After reading A Little History, a reader will know the “big names” and become familiar with some of the more interesting questions and ideas raised over the millennia since Socrates hectored his fellow Athenians about what they really understood and believed. Washburton is careful to illustrate philosophical concepts in a manner that assumes no prior knowledge of philosophy. More specifically, he covers both the famous (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Kant, etc.) and some lesser known figures to the general public (Spinoza, Pierce, Foot, etc.), and includes even the most modern thinkers such as Rawls and Singer. His concept of “philosophy” is broad enough to cover ethics, political philosophy, economic philosophy, theology, ontology, and even some philosophy of science. He generally tries to pair different approaches or variations (e.g., Bentham and Mill on utilitarianism). A true beginner will certainly finish the book knowing a good deal more than she did when she started, is unlikely to be confused, and will likely be inspired to take a “deeper dive” into those topics or philosophers she found most engaging. This is the good news. Those who are even a little better versed in philosophy, however, will find less of interest. Even assuming the book is geared towards beginners, though, Warburton could have done even better in certain respects. He fails to introduce readers to the basic vocabulary of philosophy in many cases. A glossary at the end would be helpful. Opportunities to compare one philosopher’s views on a particular subject with another are sometimes missed. And, in some cases, Warburton chooses a particularly odd concept to discuss in a chapter. For example, a reader will not learn anything about John Locke’s Second Treastise of Government and Locke’s views on the contractual nature of government and the consent of the governed. Curiously, Warburton chooses to focus on Locke’s views on memory and humanity. The political philosophy of Rousseau is well presented, however, and one wishes Warburton had paired him with Edmund Burke in a chapter that covered both views on 18th century political developments. He omits Peter Singer’s most controversial thesis altogether (that perhaps we should permit the killing of severely disabled newborns) despite the point of his final chapter being that philosophy is still a vital force in forcing us to rethink the comfortably familiar. In sum, A Little History is best left to those looking for a gentle introduction to philosophy in general, with readers looking for depth in any particular subject better off elsewhere.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Wiebke (1book1review)

    This was an easy to understand and informative overview of philosophers and their ideas. I especially liked how each chapter/philosopher connected to the next. And how despite the amount of information it never felt over my head or confusing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    If you want a clear understanding of many major philosophical ideas and the context their authors were writing in, this is an excellent book to work with.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    What a cool little history. This is about one person after another thinking hard about stuff, with helpful little thumbnail sketches of the conclusions they came up with. It was also interesting to see how they influenced one another like billiard balls knocking together across the ages. After reading this, I find that I still don’t like Nietzsche, but I did find John Stuart Mill to be very likeable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    stormin

    This book didn't work for me. There were two philosophers in the entire book that I wasn't familiar with already, and the ones that were covered were covered in a very facile, superficial way. I know enough about a couple of them--like Hume and the stoics--to know that the treatment in this book missed their most interesting / important ideas and/or got their basic outlook wrong. That's kind of sad. Especially when a non-philosopher can do such a better job contextualizing these folks. (See Nich This book didn't work for me. There were two philosophers in the entire book that I wasn't familiar with already, and the ones that were covered were covered in a very facile, superficial way. I know enough about a couple of them--like Hume and the stoics--to know that the treatment in this book missed their most interesting / important ideas and/or got their basic outlook wrong. That's kind of sad. Especially when a non-philosopher can do such a better job contextualizing these folks. (See Nicholas Taleb's treatment of stoicism in Anti-Fragile. He might not be right, but at least he's interesting.) The superficiality wasn't restricted to the philosophers, but also to editorial contents about, for example, the false-choice dichotomy between strict Biblical literalism and doctrinaire Darwinian orthodoxy. It's a silly position to take, not least because it feeds into a tired and useless science-vs-religion debate that is only interesting to fundamentalists on either side, but also because it's anachronistic to read Darwin's theories in terms of scientific discoveries (like genetics) that came a century or more later. Anyway, I've read a lot of surveys of philosophy, and this was the worst. It wasn't atrocious or anything, but it just tried too hard to be cute and droll. Sophie's World managed to do that and be much more substantive at the same time, just to use one example. (The Great Courses are also pretty fantastic here.) And yeah, those are a lot longer. Well: lesson learn. If you compress all of Western philosophy into a slim volume, you're abridging more than can be reasonably justified.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Thandi

    A great aerial view of western philosophy. Neither too much nor too little. The author is great at putting really complex ideas into short, accessible chapters. I think it’s a great starting point to decide which philosophies you want to delve further into.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    An awesome "little" account of the history of Western philosophy. It makes a good introduction to those who intend to walk into this exciting world of philosophy, It's a refreshment of philosophical thoughts to those who are more familiar with the concepts. However, don't expect too much of deep philosophical discussions since it's not the goal of this book as the title suggests. I liked learning more about the 20th c. philosophy. A. j. Ayer was interesting, and Russell was brilliant. The book, An awesome "little" account of the history of Western philosophy. It makes a good introduction to those who intend to walk into this exciting world of philosophy, It's a refreshment of philosophical thoughts to those who are more familiar with the concepts. However, don't expect too much of deep philosophical discussions since it's not the goal of this book as the title suggests. I liked learning more about the 20th c. philosophy. A. j. Ayer was interesting, and Russell was brilliant. The book, though, doesn't cover Martin Heidegger which I thought was weird. The author, I think, is an atheist; he was a little biased in favor of atheism and he couldn't hide that, but I'm gonna need to investigate this further. I recommend this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Really superb. I like Sarah Bakewell's blurb: "A primer in human existence: philosophy has rarely seemed so lucid, so important, so worth doing and so easy to enter into. " Also, the way she speaks of "the subject presented as a history of ideas rather than of timeless concepts." Warburton managed to interest me in a ridiculously wide range of ideas, and too, in their history, and I suspect a number of books he introduced me to will show up soon in my lists here. Really superb. I like Sarah Bakewell's blurb: "A primer in human existence: philosophy has rarely seemed so lucid, so important, so worth doing and so easy to enter into. " Also, the way she speaks of "the subject presented as a history of ideas rather than of timeless concepts." Warburton managed to interest me in a ridiculously wide range of ideas, and too, in their history, and I suspect a number of books he introduced me to will show up soon in my lists here.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Noel Ward

    Delivers exactly what is promised. A brief overview which includes almost all the major philosophers and a few modern ones as well. It’s well written. I can’t give more stars because it’s not the kind of book you will re-read and there is nothing special about the presentation and no insights of any kind but I do recommend it for anyone looking to dip their toes in and perhaps see where they would like to take the plunge into philosophy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Brilliant introduction to Western philosophy, from Socrates all the way to Peter Singer. LOVED it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim Goodrich

    This book was like a nice drive-by tour of the lives and philosophy of many of the most influential philosophers from Socrates to the current day. Nothing too deep on any one philosopher's work, but that is not the point. It was nice to get an entertaining 1,000 foot in the air perspective of the field in general. This book was like a nice drive-by tour of the lives and philosophy of many of the most influential philosophers from Socrates to the current day. Nothing too deep on any one philosopher's work, but that is not the point. It was nice to get an entertaining 1,000 foot in the air perspective of the field in general.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Francis

    Provides clear insight regarding important ideas in philosophy. This book is a great reading material for those who are new to the field of philosophy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ha-Linh

    A really good book that introduces basic concepts in philosophy and its greatest thinkers. It was engaging and easy to read, using simple examples to illustrate (assumably) much complicated theories. I like the way philosophers make their arguments and reasoning about important questions of human existence and how we perceive the world as well as how we should live our life in the right and meaningful way.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A well-written, accessible, and brief account of some of the major figures and thoughts in Philosophy. I’m glad I picked this one up.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marc-Y Quinten

    The history of Philosophy is a book that task about the nature of reality and to what extent we can believe what we hear and get told. It all started with Socrates who lived in the ancient Greece about 2,400 years ago. It had been started before but, people consider Socrates the person who started it all. Socrates was order the death penalty because he asked too many questions. Before Socrates died he had brought up a student so that when Socrates would die there would be someone to follow him u The history of Philosophy is a book that task about the nature of reality and to what extent we can believe what we hear and get told. It all started with Socrates who lived in the ancient Greece about 2,400 years ago. It had been started before but, people consider Socrates the person who started it all. Socrates was order the death penalty because he asked too many questions. Before Socrates died he had brought up a student so that when Socrates would die there would be someone to follow him up. His name was Plato. Plate did the same to his student Aristotle and so on. In the 40 brief chapters Nigel Warbutton explains all the most important things that happend in the history of philosophy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Noaf

    Even though I spent AGES reading this book, it actually wasn't boring at all! It was pretty readable, and surprisingly very enjoyable! It's just that I'm not that used to reading non-fiction. I got exactly what I wanted from this book, a short and sweet journey with different philosophers and their interesting (to say the least), philosophies. I wish that I had my highlighter & that I took notes though! But yeah, I loved the writing, this book felt like the writer was talking directly to me, and Even though I spent AGES reading this book, it actually wasn't boring at all! It was pretty readable, and surprisingly very enjoyable! It's just that I'm not that used to reading non-fiction. I got exactly what I wanted from this book, a short and sweet journey with different philosophers and their interesting (to say the least), philosophies. I wish that I had my highlighter & that I took notes though! But yeah, I loved the writing, this book felt like the writer was talking directly to me, and also, the writing didn't seem biased at all; and I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge, and it also gave me something to think about!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sam Strickland

    Warburton accomplishes his goal in a surprisingly concise manner. I never thought you could talk about more than forty different philosophers in such a short space. My only disappointment is his lack of attention to other issues in Christian thought apart from the existence of God. Augustine, Anselm, Thomas, and Pascal do have other things to argue and prove besides God’s existence. Warburton ends up reading the concerns of current day analytic philosophy back into these authors to the detriment Warburton accomplishes his goal in a surprisingly concise manner. I never thought you could talk about more than forty different philosophers in such a short space. My only disappointment is his lack of attention to other issues in Christian thought apart from the existence of God. Augustine, Anselm, Thomas, and Pascal do have other things to argue and prove besides God’s existence. Warburton ends up reading the concerns of current day analytic philosophy back into these authors to the detriment of his readers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Farah

    This is one of the most mind opening book I've been exposed to. It talks about history and how it shaped today's philosophy. I love philosophy because its determined to question the unquestionable. I do admit I didn't appreciate Nigel's writing because I didn't pay much attention while reading. I regret not focusing but hell no am I gonna read the book again. (sorry Nigel) I recommend this book for the ones who are inspired by questioning reality. It gives a lot of great examples on how to live This is one of the most mind opening book I've been exposed to. It talks about history and how it shaped today's philosophy. I love philosophy because its determined to question the unquestionable. I do admit I didn't appreciate Nigel's writing because I didn't pay much attention while reading. I regret not focusing but hell no am I gonna read the book again. (sorry Nigel) I recommend this book for the ones who are inspired by questioning reality. It gives a lot of great examples on how to live life and the the use of morals. Overall, I enjoyed this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Nguyen

    Though I studied Philosophy before, this is a great read to recapture key ideas by philosophers from Ancient Greek to modern time. Nigel Warburton's writing is concise and digestible. He comfortably explained the core idea by each philosopher, how it was exercised or reflected in the life of each thinker and how thinkers are linked to each other. Having read it in 3 days straight, it is incredibly enjoyable and thought-provoking. I highly recommend this book to any starter in the subject. Though I studied Philosophy before, this is a great read to recapture key ideas by philosophers from Ancient Greek to modern time. Nigel Warburton's writing is concise and digestible. He comfortably explained the core idea by each philosopher, how it was exercised or reflected in the life of each thinker and how thinkers are linked to each other. Having read it in 3 days straight, it is incredibly enjoyable and thought-provoking. I highly recommend this book to any starter in the subject.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Cerruti

    Four stars for content, broad scope, clarity, and good editing. However, Goodreads equates a four star rating with “really liked it.” I even thought a few parts were amazing (five stars), but the rest, not so much. So I give it three stars, which equals “liked it.” I did like it, or I wouldn’t have finished it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rechelle Rozwadowski

    Love this book. Clear, concise and thought provoking, without the jargon or academic pompousness. Chronological and well woven, Warburton highlights what each philosopher has brought to our world within the context of their era. It's a book to keep and return to. Love this book. Clear, concise and thought provoking, without the jargon or academic pompousness. Chronological and well woven, Warburton highlights what each philosopher has brought to our world within the context of their era. It's a book to keep and return to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Stock

    A very quick and easy read for a suscinct and not overly simplistic review of the history of philosophy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Really clear, succinct and chronological overview of the history of philosophy. Arguably a shorter and more digestible version of Bertrand Russel's "A History of Western Philosophy". Really clear, succinct and chronological overview of the history of philosophy. Arguably a shorter and more digestible version of Bertrand Russel's "A History of Western Philosophy".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark Rizk Farag

    An excellent little introduction to the history of philosophy, which covers a lot of the philosophers you may have heard of, but have not read into enough. We get Ancient Greek superstars like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Phyrro and the Stoics. Christian/platonic thinkers like Augustine and Boethius (though this section was lacking in my opinion). All the way through to more modern thinkers of the more recent centuries such as Sarte, Nietzsche, Hegel and Peter Singer. All are covered chronologica An excellent little introduction to the history of philosophy, which covers a lot of the philosophers you may have heard of, but have not read into enough. We get Ancient Greek superstars like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Phyrro and the Stoics. Christian/platonic thinkers like Augustine and Boethius (though this section was lacking in my opinion). All the way through to more modern thinkers of the more recent centuries such as Sarte, Nietzsche, Hegel and Peter Singer. All are covered chronologically in bitesize chapters - which link from one to the next. A wide range of philosophical areas are covered ranging from from political philosophy to ethics, philosophy of science to existentialism. And key terms are introduced and explained very well - those with minimal/no background in philosophy are likely to enjoy this book! And the author does not simply provide dry introductions to each philosophers - but gives interesting details about their lives. Did you know Schopenhauer once pushed a loud old lady down the stairs? That the Cynic Phyrro allegedly had to be physically prevented from walking in front of moving carriages by friends? The philosophers and their ideas are humanised and given character and life. I think this book serves as an excellent primer - it doesn't cover any philosophy or philosopher definitely by any means, but gives you enough to understand their key ideas and a bit of background on their lives. You can then very easily take the philosophers you like and dive further into their literature and thoughts. I certainly used the book like this - becoming very interesting in a range of philosophers that I otherwise may not have - namely Boethius, Kierkegaard and Arendt. What are the downsides? Well to be perfectly honest while some of the philosophers are covered excellently - some simply weren't. The section on the Stoics left a lot to be desired. There was no mention at all of Marcus Aurelius (a VERY KEY THINKER and possibly the most influential Stoic), but somewhat inexplicably, a section dedicated to Cicero - who while influenced by Stoicism, was not a Stoic. It also discussed the belief that 'emotions should be removed of possible' as a goal of stoicism - again questionable. Another minor bone I had to pick was that the author was questionable in who was included and who was left out. Darwin's theory of Evolution is excellent and I am a proponent of it. I can also see how it shaped the philosophical landscape. But did he REALLY need his own chapter when so many other good philosophers were left out? (such as Alasdair Macintyre, Maimonides and Athanasius). Also very interesting, is the lack of female philosophers (there are only two mentioned!). The book covers Western Philosophy, so you're not going to get any Sun Tzu, Confucius or Lao Tzu here (though you will get Augustine - who lived in modern day Algeria for reasons I still don't understand). For those of you interested in 'female philosophers - check out The Philosopher Queens: The Lives and Legacies of Philosophy's Unsung Women' by Lisa Whiting and Rebecca Buxton. TDLR: many of the 'introductions to philosophy' are too heavy or dry for the average reader with little background. This one (much like the porridge in Goldilocks) is just right as a primer for those with an interest in philosophy, but who are not necessarily knee deep in it already. It. Is excellent as a primer and covers most of the big philosophers and their ideas relatively well. Not recommended for those who are already very well versed in philosophy as it may be a little elementary. Check out Bertrand Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy' for something more up your alley!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Moussa K

    Philosophy. Perhaps one of the most difficult study human species have ever encountered, because humans have always been a special kind that have been ever seeking the truth in the abstract, in the reflection of themselves, in the ethics, about the way we should live or the truth about the existence. Some of the truth-seekers asked the right questions at the right time and have been awarded for their pursuit, whereas some of them were exiled or even killed because of their thinking about thinkin Philosophy. Perhaps one of the most difficult study human species have ever encountered, because humans have always been a special kind that have been ever seeking the truth in the abstract, in the reflection of themselves, in the ethics, about the way we should live or the truth about the existence. Some of the truth-seekers asked the right questions at the right time and have been awarded for their pursuit, whereas some of them were exiled or even killed because of their thinking about thinking and asking to many questions. Was there a right answer, really? Maybe yes, maybe no. That is philosophy. Nigel Warburton managed to understand some of the best-known philosophers' ideas, the way they thought and tried to answer the existential questions. In this book he is taking the reader to a journey starting next to 400 BC Socrates and Platon to Cicero, from 15th century's Machiavelli to Descartes, to Rousseau, to Nietzsche, to Marx and many many more, people who shaped the world as we know it today. Warburton accomplishes this hard task, explaining the "crazy ones' " ideas to us in a manner that even a 7 year old would understand. At the end, the question is: would you save those 5 workers on the tracks by playing God and pulling the lever or leave it on its course and pretend never happened?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    A brief account of western philosophy throughout history. Warburton explains complex ideas in a very concise and approachable way, and makes the reader a participant, as he invites us to ponder on these dilemmas by introducing examples, anecdotes and thought experiments. By the end of every chapter he links one school of thought to the next one, so it is easier to appreciate how they influence one another. I love how he adds tidbits of information about each philosopher and the society at the time A brief account of western philosophy throughout history. Warburton explains complex ideas in a very concise and approachable way, and makes the reader a participant, as he invites us to ponder on these dilemmas by introducing examples, anecdotes and thought experiments. By the end of every chapter he links one school of thought to the next one, so it is easier to appreciate how they influence one another. I love how he adds tidbits of information about each philosopher and the society at the time. It is really interesting to see how this impacts their point of view and the fundamental questions they study. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. For me, it was a great introduction to some interesting topics and authors I didn't know. And I'm definitely checking out more on Russell and Singer after this one.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Max Hristov

    For years I had questions, that I wanted answered that could be qualified as “philosophical” or “existential” in the sense that they couldn’t be empirically answered. I didn’t know where to look or what to read. Though short, the conciseness of the book meant that I could see where to seek the guidance I needed throughout the years of philosophical thought and really form a basis on what the major thinkers contended. The book is also written simply (not excessively though), and helpfully identif For years I had questions, that I wanted answered that could be qualified as “philosophical” or “existential” in the sense that they couldn’t be empirically answered. I didn’t know where to look or what to read. Though short, the conciseness of the book meant that I could see where to seek the guidance I needed throughout the years of philosophical thought and really form a basis on what the major thinkers contended. The book is also written simply (not excessively though), and helpfully identifies the different spheres of philosophy- epistemology, metaphysics, ethics etc. I think that this book will not help you go into great depth but rather it will help you determine find which parts you find more intriguing and where you want to read further.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diana Iovanel

    If you want to question everything you've ever been taught ever, this book fits nicely on that path. Covering about 40 philosophers starting from Socrates to contemporaneous Singer, the book jumps back and forth between opposing or completely unrelated views about reality, the existence of God, the meaning of life, ethics and even artificial intelligence. It can feel somewhat overwhelming if you'd like to have some direction in answering the questions philosophers raise: you cannot simply pick a If you want to question everything you've ever been taught ever, this book fits nicely on that path. Covering about 40 philosophers starting from Socrates to contemporaneous Singer, the book jumps back and forth between opposing or completely unrelated views about reality, the existence of God, the meaning of life, ethics and even artificial intelligence. It can feel somewhat overwhelming if you'd like to have some direction in answering the questions philosophers raise: you cannot simply pick a philosophy that sounds reasonable, given some of them are outdated and the majority of them are quite extreme. I think the book could benefit from an introduction going over the different schools of thought about to be covered in the book and, similarly, a summary at the end, given that the book is so dense with information. Otherwise, the it stays true to its title and delivers a seemingly well rounded overview of the history of philosophy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tania Hussain

    Either the author only believes that western philosophy makes up the 'history' of philosophy or this book needs a serious name change. Not surprising given the fact that it is a British philosopher who penned this. The book is extremely simplified, which is probably good for some readers. Overall, I wish this book was more inclusive of the eastern philosophies and concepts and would come off as less patronizing, especially the last chapter. Either the author only believes that western philosophy makes up the 'history' of philosophy or this book needs a serious name change. Not surprising given the fact that it is a British philosopher who penned this. The book is extremely simplified, which is probably good for some readers. Overall, I wish this book was more inclusive of the eastern philosophies and concepts and would come off as less patronizing, especially the last chapter.

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