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A Little History of Philosophy (Little Histories) Paperback – 11 Sep 2012
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'Warburton packs a heck of a lot in to what is something of a Goldilocks volume: neither too much nor too little, the exegesis neither too thin or too thick and lumpy, his Little History can be consumed as a nourishing treat in its own rights or provide the perfect fuel to kick-start anyone s journey into philosophy.' --Julian Baggini, The Observer
'Survey of the entire history of (western) philosophy through short intellectual biographies of 40 philosophers from Socrates to Peter Singer, in as broadly approachable a style as EH Gombrich s A Little History of the World. A tall order; that Warburton (of the excellent podcast Philosophy Bites) has succeeded so well is a triumph.' --Steven Poole, The Guardian
'The magic of Nigel Warburton s book is its disarming accessibility. It closely follows the template of A Little History Of The World Ernst Gombrich s 1935 introductory text for children, recently translated by Yale and Warburton is the ideal shout for a writer to match Gombrich s terse charm and easy authority. Anyone who s enjoyed Warburton s brilliant podcast series, Philosophy Bites , where he and fellow demystifier David Edmonds half-nelson academics into spelling out their theories, will know he has a special gift for defusing complexity.' --Chris Brown, Time Out
About the Author
Nigel Warburton is a freelance philosopher, bestselling author of many popular introductions to philosophy, and co-host of the much-loved Philosophy Bites podcast.
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Make no mistake, this is not a fluffy waste of time. Warburton writes with real knowledge and insight... and a delightful sense of irony and humour too. I learnt more about people I'd already encountered, and met some whose names I scarcely knew.
If you're looking for a concise, one-volume introduction to the 'big ideas' of all the most significant philosophers of history this is for you. No reservations, buy it.
An excellent book for the general reader, like myself, who would simply like to learn a bit more about philosophy. I suspect that it might be too lightweight for an undergraduate seriously studying Philosophy at university.
Highly recommended for the general reader.
This is a relatively short book, 250 pages in all, given that it attempts to present the ideas of more than 40 major philosophers dating back to Socrates and ending with the living ones like Peter Singer. Written for the lay reader, it is full of examples, presented in plain language, in sections not more than six or seven pages long. There is a conscious attempt to put everything in perspective, each section ends with a prelude to the next, and at other times, there are references made to ideas and works of other philosophers as we read about another one.
As I mentioned, this book goes beyond the basic introduction and generates an interest in the subject. It does so by being practical and establishing relevance to everyday life. A number of questions are explored in the context. People like Darwin, Freud and Kuhn find sections of their own. I ended up recommending this book to friends in other disciplines as a good read and great enabler of intelligent conversations.