- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: DK; First Edition edition (22 Oct. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0751305901
- ISBN-13: 978-0751305906
- Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 2 x 28.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Story of Philosophy Hardcover – 22 Oct 1998
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More About the Author
As a bright adolescent, Magee discovered--see his Confessions of a philosopher --that the kind of thinking he liked to do was called "philosophy". The great disappointment of his life was the realisation that, incapable of great original thoughts, he was condemned to be a populariser all his life. His loss is our gain, and this admirable illustrated book is his very partial account of philosophy for other adolescents and adults who need a handy crib. This is Whiggish history, in which everything leads to a selective group of 20th-century Greats--Wittgenstein, Russell and Popper--two of whom were Magee's personal friends; contemporary French thinkers like Foucault and Derrida are relegated to the sidelines and linguistic analysis treated as a slightly irrelevant game. It is also Eurocentric history in which we leap from Stoics and Epicureans to Thomas Aquinas taking in only Saint Augustine on the way--Muslim thinkers are no more than mentioned and the Buddha is only here as an influence on Schopenhauer. Illustrations and sidebars give a useful cultural context; Magee writes well about his intellectual heroes and this is a personal enough book to be both more and less than a mere introduction. --Roz Kaveney
About the Author
Bryan Magee has been one of the most successful English-language popularisers of philosophy in the 20th century. He has taught philosophy at Oxford University, and written numerous other books on the subject, including The Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy, Talking Philosophy: Dialogues with Fifteen Leading Philosophers, and Confessions of a Philosopher: A personal Journey Through Western Philosophy from Plato to Popper. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Having read the book, I am loath to say that the book is objective, but it certainly feels that way from my subjective point of view!
Has certainly inspired me to look at philosophy in more depth, and even to start to try and clarify my own beliefs.
Beginning with the early ancient Greek philosophers, Magee takes the reader right through to 20th century analytic and existential philosophy, tackling all the key figures and schools of thought along the way. The great rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) and empiricists (Locke, Hume, etc) and key figures and movements from French and German philosophy are all covered. Books of this sort sometimes have a tendency to feel quite disjointed. Not so this one: each chapter flows smoothly to the next, and if you read it cover to cover, you'll find yourself with a good sense of the development of ideas through the generations.
Presentation of this title is, as we've come to expect from DK, excellent. There are informative side panels, quotations, and an abundance of illustrations including well-chosen and often remarkably apt period artwork. All help to provide a useful sense of context for each key figure and idea. As an extensive and accessible overview of the history of philosophy, Bryan Magee's book completely achieves what it sets out to do, and more importantly, reading it was a real pleasure.
The desciptions are always unbiased and direct in identifying the key works, ideas and theories of the great philosophers and elucidating them in a way that is both easy to grasp and engaging. The page space allocated to each philosopher varies considerably; depending on how much influence and impact their work has had on the world, (at least in the mind of the author). Some of the more famous names receive 7+ pages others less than a page, but given that the whole history of philosophy is covered, I feel that a sensible balance is struck. In my opinion the use of illustration is effective and compliments the text because, to me, the philosophical mindset of a time and place in history is often clearly represented in the art. The author also makes good use of text boxes, often to remind the reader of historical background or the relationship of philosophy to the scientific and literary works of the age. Overall the illustrations, text boxes and use of aphorism, helps to break up the text alowing the reader to digest and reflect on the material.
One minor complaint I have is that the section on eastern philosophy is relatively short, with Confucianism barely receiving a mention.
Plato is quoted as saying "Philosophy begins in Wonder" and after reading this book I can guarantee that you will have a greater appreciation and understanding of the contribution of the great minds to the evolution of modern thought. This book may also help you to structure and expand your own thoughts or challenge you to examine and reaffirm your own beliefs and values.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully produced, easy to read, covers all the areas I am interested in.Published 5 months ago by Janina Chislett
Excellent summary, but some obvious errors on well known Zeno's paradoxes make it a four star!Published 9 months ago by Vijay_79
Bought as a present. The person who it was for was over the moon with it.
Thanks for the good deal.
the book arrived quickly and in very good form. The book has lots of illustrations with compact history of philosophy. Read morePublished 18 months ago by dara