Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century. Written by a man who changed the history of philosophy himself, this is an account that has never been rivaled since its first publication over sixty years ago.
Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy is still unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace, and its wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century.
Among the philosophers considered are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated—Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, coauthor with Russell of the monumental Principia Mathematica.
From Socrates to Sartre presents a rousing and readable introduction to the lives, and times of the great philosophers. This thought-provoking book takes us from the inception of Western society in Plato’s Athens to today when the commanding power of Marxism has captured one third of the world. T. Z. Lavine, Elton Professor of Philosophy at George Washington University, makes philosophy come alive with astonishing clarity to give us a deeper, more meaningful understanding of ourselves and our times.
From Socrates to Sartre discusses Western philosophers in terms of the historical and intellectual environment which influenced them, and it connects their lasting ideas to the public and private choices we face in America today.
From Socrates to Sartre formed the basis of from the PBS television series of the same name.
From the Paperback edition.
A New York Times Notable Book.
The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.
In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers—from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists—who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.
This is the book Richard Dawkins was meant to write: a brilliant assessment of what science is (and isn't), a tribute to science not because it is useful but because it is uplifting.
With their accessible compendium of philosophy and social progress, the Durants take us on a journey through history, exploring the possibilities and limitations of humanity over time. Juxtaposing the great lives, ideas, and accomplishments with cycles of war and conquest, the Durants reveal the towering themes of history and give meaning to our own.
Ideas are the cogs that drive history, and in explaining the most complex and influential ones in laymen's terms, Ideas that Matter will help every engaged citizen better understand it.
This new edition features a revised text that supplants all previous versions, English translations of the many passages in foreign languages, a new foreword in which Berlin biographer Michael Ignatieff explains the enduring appeal of Berlin's essay, and a new appendix that provides rich context, including excerpts from reviews and Berlin's letters, as well as a startling new interpretation of Archilochus's epigram.
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.
Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.
And now, you can read Daniel Klein's further musings on life and philosophy in Travels with Epicurus and Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change it.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The subject of On the Eternal in Man is the divine and its reality, the originality and non-derivation of religious experience. Scheler shows the characteristic quality of that which is religious. It is a particular essence that cannot be reduced to anything else. It is a sphere that belongs essentially to humankind; without it we would not be human. If genuine fulfillment is denied it, substitutes come into being. This religious sphere is the most essential, decisive one. It determines man's basic attitude towards reality and in a sense the color, extent and position of all the other human domains in life. It forms the basis for various views about life and thought.
Scheler was emphatically an intuitive philosopher. In Scheler's work the break between being as the almighty but blind rage and value as the knowing but powerless spirit-has become complete, and makes of each human a split being. Personal experiences may be reflected here. The development of Scheler's work as a whole was highly dependent on his personal experiences. It is this that gives Scheler's work its liveliness and its validity.
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth's diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world's greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America--five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.
Lost Enlightenment chronicles this forgotten age of achievement, seeks to explain its rise, and explores the competing theories about the cause of its eventual demise. Informed by the latest scholarship yet written in a lively and accessible style, this is a book that will surprise general readers and specialists alike.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
This book draws attention to the "second sexism," where it exists, how it works and what it looks like, and responds to those who would deny that it exists. Challenging conventional ways of thinking, it examines controversial issues such as sex-based affirmative action, gender roles, and charges of anti-feminism. The book offers an academically rigorous argument in an accessible style, including the careful use of empirical data, and includes examples and engages in a discussion of how sex discrimination against men and boys also undermines the cause for female equality.
Perhaps the most readable and accessible of the great works of scientific inquiry, The Origin of Species sold out its first printing on the very day it was published in 1859. Theologians quickly labeled Charles Darwin the most dangerous man in England and, as the Saturday Review noted, the uproar over the book quickly “passed beyond the bounds of the study and lecture-room into the drawing-room and the public street.” Based largely on Darwin’s experience as a naturalist while on a five-year voyage aboard H. M. S. Beagle, The Origin of Species set forth a theory of evolution and natural selection that challenged contemporary beliefs about divine providence and the immutability of species. This Modern Library edition includes a Foreword by the Pulitzer Prize–winning science historian Edward J. Larson, an introductory historical sketch, and a glossary Darwin later added to the original text.
Recalling such philosophers was Wittgenstein and Arendt, The Whys of Philosophical Scrivener embodies Martin Garner's unceasing interest and joy in the impenetrable mysteries of life.
More than a great novel, Atlas Shrugged is an abstract conceptual, and symbolic work that expounds a radical philosophy, presenting a view of man and man's relationship to existence and manifesting the essentials of an entire philosophical system – metaphysics, epistemology, politics and ethics.
Celebrating the fiftieth year of Atlas Shrugged's publication, this companion is an exploration of this monumental work of literature. Contributions have been specially commissioned from a diversity of eminent scholars who admire and have been influenced by the book, the included essays analyzing the novel's integrating elements of theme, plot and characterization from many perspectives and from various levels of meaning.
Giambattista Vico was the anachronistic and impoverished Neapolitan philosopher sometimes credited with founding the human sciences. He opposed Enlightenment methods as cold and fallacious. J. G. Hamann was a pious, cranky dilettante in a peripheral German city. But he was brilliant enough to gain the audience of Kant, Goethe, and Moses Mendelssohn. In Hamann's chaotic and long-ignored writings, Berlin finds the first strong attack on Enlightenment rationalism and a wholly original source of the coming swell of romanticism. Johann Gottfried Herder, the progenitor of populism and European nationalism, rejected universalism and rationalism but championed cultural pluralism.
Individually, these fascinating intellectual biographies reveal Berlin's own great intelligence, learning, and generosity, as well as the passionate genius of his subjects. Together, they constitute an arresting interpretation of romanticism's precursors. In Hamann's railings and the more considered writings of Vico and Herder, Berlin finds critics of the Enlightenment worthy of our careful attention. But he identifies much that is misguided in their rejection of universal values, rationalism, and science. With his customary emphasis on the frightening power of ideas, Berlin traces much of the next centuries' irrationalism and suffering to the historicism and particularism they advocated. What Berlin has to say about these long-dead thinkers--in appreciation and dissent--is remarkably timely in a day when Enlightenment beliefs are being challenged not just by academics but by politicians and by powerful nationalist and fundamentalist movements.
The study of J. G. Hamann was originally published under the title The Magus of the North: J. G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism. The essays on Vico and Herder were originally published as Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas. Both are out of print.
This new edition includes a number of previously uncollected pieces on Vico and Herder, two interesting passages excluded from the first edition of the essay on Hamann, and Berlin's thoughtful responses to two reviewers of that same edition.
Philosophically, Kierkegaard was the “bridge” that led from Hegel to Existentialism.
Kierkegaard abhorred Hegel’s abstract, Know-it-all idealism that tried to capture reality in a few words. Kierkegaard’s attack on social and religious complacency and his single-handed assault on traditional Western philosophy generated a crisis that produced a radically new way of philosophizing and made him the founder of the school that would later be called Existentialism. To Kierkegaard, reality was personal, subjective – it began and ended with the individual – and philosophy was not something one merely talked about, it was the way you lived.
For such a brilliant thinker, the way Kierkegaard lived was… somewhat too interesting? His “abstract” love affair? His obsession with death? His “leap of Faith,” his cynicism, his marvelous sense of humor – how do you put all that into one man?
For starters, you read Kierkegaard For Beginners. It explains, plainly and simply, the great Danish thinker’s obsession with the particularity of human existence as well as his demonstration of how the creation of an authentic new kind of individual is possible
This is a book of lives, not doctrines, although readers will long value Gurdjieff’s accounts of conversations with sages. Meetings conveys a haunting sense of what it means to live fully—with conscience, with purpose, and with heart. Among the remarkable individuals whom the reader will come to know are Gurdjieff’s father (a traditional bard), a Russian prince dedicated to the search for Truth, a Christian missionary who entered a World Brotherhood deep in Asia, and a woman who escaped white slavery to become a trusted member of Gurdjieff’s group of fellow seekers. Gurdjieff’s account of their attitudes in the face of external challenges and in the search to understand the mysteries of life is the real substance of this classic work.
Perhaps only Alain de Botton could uncover practical wisdom in the writings of some of the greatest thinkers of all time. But uncover he does, and the result is an unexpected book of both solace and humor. Dividing his work into six sections -- each highlighting a different psychic ailment and the appropriate philosopher -- de Botton offers consolation for unpopularity from Socrates, for not having enough money from Epicurus, for frustration from Seneca, for inadequacy from Montaigne, and for a broken heart from Schopenhauer (the darkest of thinkers and yet, paradoxically, the most cheering). Consolation for envy -- and, of course, the final word on consolation -- comes from Nietzsche: "Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us."
This wonderfully engaging book will, however, make us feel better in a good way, with equal measures of wit and wisdom.
Disparities explores contemporary 'negative' philosophies from Catherine Malabou's plasticity, Julia Kristeva's abjection and Robert Pippin's self-consciousness to the God of negative theology, new realisms and post-humanism and draws a radical line under them. Instead of establishing a dialogue with these other ideas of disparity, Slavoj Žižek wants to establish a definite departure, a totally different idea of disparity based on an imaginative dialectical materialism. This notion of rupturing what has gone before is based on a provocative reading of how philosophers can, if they're honest, engage with each other. Slavoj Žižek borrows Alain Badiou's notion that a true idea is the one that divides. Radically departing from previous formulations of negativity and disparity, Žižek employs a new kind of negativity: namely positing that when a philosopher deals with another philosopher, his or her stance is never one of dialogue, but one of division, of drawing a line that separates truth from falsity.
Memory, History, Forgetting, like its title, is divided into three major sections. Ricoeur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonical devices. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work by historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricoeur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. The third and final section is a profound meditation on the necessity of forgetting as a condition for the possibility of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting in parallel to happy memory. Throughout the book there are careful and close readings of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, of Descartes and Kant, and of Halbwachs and Pierre Nora.
A momentous achievement in the career of one of the most significant philosophers of our age, Memory, History, Forgetting provides the crucial link between Ricoeur's Time and Narrative and Oneself as Another and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation.
“His success in revealing the internal relations between recalling and forgetting, and how this dynamic becomes problematic in light of events once present but now past, will inspire academic dialogue and response but also holds great appeal to educated general readers in search of both method for and insight from considering the ethical ramifications of modern events. . . . It is indeed a master work, not only in Ricoeur’s own vita but also in contemporary European philosophy.”—Library Journal
“Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy—critical, economical, and clear.”— New York Times Book Review