2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"A Very Good Empirical and Seminal Account of Historical Thought!",
This review is from: Ideas: A history from fire to Freud (Hardcover)
I bought this book by Peter Watson: "Ideas - A History From Fire To Freud" as result of being a member of the Folio Society in 2005-2007, published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson (Orion Publishing Group) in 2005. Although, I must admit that I have not read it from cover to cover, but found many of the sections on philosophy, religion & history very interesting and enlightening. I was interested in Part Two: Isaiah to Zhu XI: Romance of the Soul; Chapter 8: Alexandria, Occident and Orient in the year 0, Chapter 12: Falsafah and al-Jabr in Baghdad and Toledo; Part Three, Chapter 15: Great Hinge of History: European Acceleration & Part Five: Vico to Freud; Parallel Truths: The Modern Incoherence, Chapters 29, 33 & 36. However, Watson clearly gives away his 'hidden agenda' of being an British Empiricist writer who prefers to highlight Aristotle and Locke and not Plato and Descartes which is not the problem. The problem, however, is that this work is supposed to be an unbiased account!
Also, Watson's knowledge of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH - SAW)'s biography is a bit sketchy and shallow in that it fails to mention the fact that the most authentic & reliable is the traditionalist account by Ibn Ishaq: "The Life of Muhammad Apostle of Allah (updated/edited) by Ibn Hisham. He (Watson), ironically, mentions a Nestorian Christian from al-Hirah (born over one hundred years after Ibn Ishaq - whose grandfather was a Christian) was also called (Hunayn) Ibn Ishaq who became known among the Arabs as the "Sheikh of the translators". He mastered four languages: Arabic, Syriac, Greek and Persian!
Apart from some of these obvious shortcomings, I found the book to be very pro-atheistic because it shows religion (faith) as being closely intertwined and yet apparently these faiths are mutually incompatible.