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on 19 May 2014
This is an amazing book. It might just be the way i like to learn, but when the history is divided out so that you can read the history of the philosophers, and then the history of their thought, it makes for an amazingly well written and well edited book. I have only been able to get through less that 20% of the book, but I know that it is a book I will read over and over again as I get older.
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on 17 June 2011
This is an outstanding contribution to the history of philosophy. The presentation of the ideas of major philosophers and schools of philosophy is comprehensive and beautifully written. Anthony Kenny provides a subtle critique of the ideas he explores, as well as a few personal details about philosophers that bring them to life. He helps the reader explore ideas in a way that makes this work more engaging than Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy.
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on 12 March 2014
Marvellous value for the money. This is far better than Bertrand Russell's earlier history of western philosophy. It also, of course, takes us more or less up to date. It could be used by students of all kinds.
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on 14 November 2013
Very clear introduction re layout and approach, with excellent linking of theory and historical context. Neither simplistic nor intellectually obscure. I am 'enjoying' it more than I thought...
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on 20 November 2011
Reading this book exercised parts of my brain that I had not hitherto known existed.

Prof. Kenny has written a work that answers all your questions about Western philosophy, and then encourages you to pursue the matter further.

An education in itself.
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on 1 September 2014
This is a history of philosophers and philosophical ideas presented with admirable clarity.The book is divided into four parts; Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy,The Rise of Modern Philosophy and Philosophy in the Modern World. Each section presents the major philosophers of a period and then goes on to present the development of the major areas of philosophy during that period.
The book is authoritative and accessible. if you have never read a book on philosophy before this is an excellent place to start..
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on 9 March 2016
I am separating substance and form here - the former is most excellent scholarship and literary merit and readability - the latter is the poor quality of printing. The middling mark I have given is solely of course because of the latter.
The book format itself is a solid hardback ranging like its topics over 1,000 pages. Well-constructed with attractive dust jacket. But the print is unexpectedly small and uneven and in parts even faint - giving the immediate impression it has been hastily photocopied (!) and thrown together. In days gone by a flagship book of this nature and importance would have demanded and gotten a more professional look and feel. The printers/publishers would have had higher standards to follow. And I am not being over-fussy either - after all the nature of the print is fundamental and second only to the abilities of the author.
Kenny is an established academic and a lucid writer - but I do not need to elaborate that point - and his method of presentation is strikingly different - initial introductions to each historical period succeeded by a sharp analysis of common recurring themes across the centuries and how various writers have individually addressed such challenging topics.
A shame greater care was not afforded however to the book's overall legibility and visual appeal in my view. But naturally all can be traced back to modern printing and distribution costs and affordability. (Not a general rule admittedly as I also have the Oxford Companion to Philosophy 2nd edition and that is much clearer and bolder).
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on 22 April 2013
Kenny is a religious man and this comes through in every chapter. For me there is much too much reference to and interest in god - which led to me skipping through several sections. As a history of philosophy though, from cradle to today, it is the most enjoyable book I have ever read, containing a lot contextual information that Russell's original history (which is a work of philosophy as much as history) does not. It lacks the philosophical perspective and bite of Russell's original (though perhaps I just trust Russell's opinions more) and Kenny's writing style is not nearly so enjoyable - but then which philosopher does compare to Russell's writing style?
Not as good as Russell's history but worth the money and a place on the shelf next to it.
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on 13 March 2015
An accessible and wide-ranging text that stretches and informs and illuminates
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on 16 November 2014
Saving this for a rainy month - it looks promising.
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