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Comment: Shelf and handling wear to cover and binding, with general signs of previous use. 14th print edition Clarion Book Paperback.
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History of Western Philosophy Paperback – Oct 30 1967

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 895 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; unknown edition (Oct. 30 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671201581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671201586
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.1 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


‘A precious book….a work that is in the highest degree pedagogical which stands above the conflicts of parties and opinion’Albert Einstein

'Remains unchallenged as the perfect introduction to its subject ... exactly the kind of philosophy that most people would like to read, but which only Russell could possibly have written.' - Ray Monk, University of Southampton, UK

'Beautiful and luminous prose, not merely classically clear but scrupulously honest.' - Isaiah Berlin

'It is a witty bird's-eye view of the main figures in Western thought enlivened by references to the personalities and quirks of the thinkers themselves.' - The Week

'A great philosopher's lucid and magisterial look at the history of his own subject, wonderfully readable and enlightening.' - The Observer

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was born in England and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. His long career established him as one of the most influential philosophers, mathematicians, and social reformers of the twentieth century.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm going to make this short but sweet. There are many books out there promising the reader an introduction to philosophy. And more times than less these books do not measure up to the reader's expectations, or simply bore the reader and cause philosophy to lose another interested adherent. If you have ever wanted to know what philosophy was all about, whether a novice or simply a victim of an "Intro to Philosophy" course at college, this is the only book you will ever need. But I guarantee it won't be the only book you'll purchase on the subject of philosophy.
Written for the intelligent public with a verve and panache in the style that shows the author's love of the subject, this book will stimulate your interest as it makes the foggiest questions clear. No matter what the price you pay for it, it will go down as the best intellectual investment you've ever made. Sure, the are prejudices shown in the book, and Lord Russell was a strong-willed philosopher. But you will find yourself purchasing supplemental books on the subject to determine whether Russell was right or wrong in his opinion. You will already have the facts, due to Russell's diligence and clear style. I myself am on my third copy of the book, having worn out the previous two reading, writing and teaching the wisdom contained within their pages.
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Format: Paperback
Bertrand Russell's Hist. of Western Philosophy is an incredible introduction to the history of philosophy. If you want a straightforward description of each philosopher, I would recommend the encyclopedia, but if you want an in depth discussion of the philosopher's views, who he was influenced by, and his influence on other philosophers, Russell can't be beat. This book can be read straight through, or you can flip to the chapter on the philosopher or field of philosophy you want to learn about. The only problem with this book is that it deals with so many philosophers that it can only give about 10-20 pages to each philosopher (but longer to more influential philosophers like Plato and Locke), so if you need a great deal of info, this book won't be perfect. But this books advantages far outweigh its faults. My personal favorite part is Russell's commentary on each philosopher - he points out the strengths and weaknesses of each philosopher's philosophy. I highly recommend this volume for anyone interested in this wonderful subject.
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Format: Paperback
This is a work of broad perspective, covering twenty five hundred years of history and philosophy, and will be most beneficial for anyone with less than a deep familiarity with the general principles of Philosophy. Bertrand Russell's thorough account of the history western philosophy is divided most properly into three books: the first dealing with Ancient, the second with Catholic, and the final with Modern Philosophy. Russell's work begins with the condition of Hellenic civilization at the time of Thales of Miletus and ends during the time of Russell's own distinguished contemporaries. Instead of dedicating a chapter soley to Thales, Russell deemed it more appropriate to deal singularly with Pythagoras first, simply because his influence was much more profound than Thales and others of the Milesian school. Likewise, while Russell suggests that Spinoza was a much greater philosopher than Locke, he nevertheless maintains that Locke's influence was far greater than Spinoza's, and that most appropriately more time should be dedicated to Locke instead. Although the basis of this work lies upon a particular philosopher's impact upon social and political sphere of life, Russell never fails to surface individuals with deep philosophical merit. In other words, Russell treats every principle philosopher from Pythagoras to Aquinas, all the way to his own contemporaries, despite how influential they may have been; but these individuals, though they may have been exemplary thinkers, are just dealt with much more briefly in regards to their lack of major influence. So, keeping this in mind, anyone looking to find a history of western philosophy that contains an abundance of great thinkers, with detailed summaries of their systems of thought and their influence upon the world, along with some very good general history, Russell's work should not be avoided.
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Format: Paperback
My wife and I being among those strange people that like reading at meal-times, we went (with our books) into a pizza parlour some time ago. I happened to be reading this.

The waitress asked "Are you reading that for a school project?"; and I replied "No, I'm reading it for fun."

I don't think she believed me. But it was true. For those who have never read Russell, this may seem implausible to the point of grotesqueness; but in fact he has an economy of verbiage, razor-sharp analytical faculties, an encyclopædic grasp of his subject, and (especially) a dry wit that make light work of the most cumbrous material. I've now read this several times, and enjoyed it every time.

(Too bad he died before Postmodernism and Poststructuralism got a serious grip — I'd have loved to have seen what he had to say about those!)

A lengthy commentary would be easy, but I'll leave that to others.
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