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The History of Philosophy - A. C. Grayling

The History of Philosophy

Paperback Published: 2nd July 2019
ISBN: 9780241304556
Number Of Pages: 704

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The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic, Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey.

With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius, and Socrates, through Christianity's dominance of the European mind, to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too.

Accessible for students and eye-opening for philosophy readers, he covers epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates in these areas of enquiry, through the ideas of the celebrated philosophers as well as less well-known influential thinkers. He also asks what we have learnt from this body of thought, and what progress is still to be made.

The first authoritative and accessible one-volume history of philosophy for decades, remarkable for its range and accessibility, this is a landmark work.

Industry Reviews

Updating Bertrand Russell for the 21st century . . . a cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit . . . The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations * Sunday Times *
Grayling has written a masterful and often entertaining chronicle of the epic intellectual journey we humans have taken, in different periods, countries and cultures, to understand ourselves, our world, and how we ought to live. An extraordinary accomplishment that transcends the usual bounds of academic specialization -- Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University
He's more historically-minded than Russell, less dogmatic than Dawkins and less in thrall to the charms of his own fluency than Hitchens -- Prospect on The Challenge of Things
Undeniably thought-provoking -- The Sunday Times on The God Argument
Grayling is particularly good at illuminating the knottiness of moral discourse -- Sunday Times on The Challenge of Things
Lucid, informative and admirably accessible -- New Statesman on The God Argument
Grayling writes with clarity, elegance and the occasional aphoristic twist -- Daily Telegraph on The Challenge of Things
Five minutes with any passage will have you contemplating all day -- Independent on The Good Book
I find the clarity of his thinking so refreshing -- Pam Ferris on The Meaning of Things
If there is any such person in Britain as The Thinking Man, it is A. C. Grayling -- The Times
The History of Philosophy is an excellent overview of great philosophical thought by an insightful practitioner of the field. It is a credit to Grayling's abilities that he has penned such a perspicuous book on some very difficult subjects-giving the a reader a clear overview of the complexities of Scholastic logic, Analytic philosophies of language and mind, and much else besides is no easy feat, but Grayling has achieved it. This is a book to be treasured, both as a guide to the subject and as a beautiful piece of writing in itself, containing great insight and wisdom. It is a testament to the continuing importance and value of philosophy. * Aero Magazine *

ISBN: 9780241304556
ISBN-10: 0241304555
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 704
Published: 2nd July 2019
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5  x 4.2
Weight (kg): 0.79
Edition Number: 1

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A.C. Grayling

About the Author


A.C. Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, London, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society.

He is the author of many books, including The Meaning of Things and Towards the Light: The Story of the Struggles for Liberty in the Modern West, and has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect. He has been a Booker Prize judge and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news.

Visit A.C. Grayling's Booktopia Author Page