The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance (New Edition)

W. W. Norton & Company
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"His book...supplant[s] all others, even the immensely successful History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell."—A. C. Grayling Already a classic, this landmark study of early Western thought now appears in a new edition with expanded coverage of the Middle Ages. This landmark study of Western thought takes a fresh look at the writings of the great thinkers of classic philosophy and questions many pieces of conventional wisdom. The book invites comparison with Bertrand Russell's monumental History of Western Philosophy, "but Gottlieb's book is less idiosyncratic and based on more recent scholarship" (Colin McGinn, Los Angeles Times). A New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Book, and a Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2001.
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About the author

Anthony Gottlieb is the author of The Dream of Reason, a former executive editor of The Economist, and has held visiting fellowships at Harvard University and All Souls College, Oxford. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Aug 30, 2016
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Pages
512
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ISBN
9780393354225
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Medieval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In this re-titled and substantially revised update of his Classical Philosophy (2003), Christopher Shields expands his coverage to include the Hellenistic era, and now offers an introduction to more than 1,000 years of ancient philosophy. From Thales and other Pre-Socratics through Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and on to Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Scepticism, Ancient Philosophy traces the important connections between these periods and individuals without losing sight of the novelties and dynamics unique to each.

The coverage of Plato and Aristotle also has been expanded. It now includes, for example, updated coverage of Plato's allegories of the cave and the divided line and the metaphor of the sun as well as features of Plato's epistemology. Shields also adds new discussion on Aristotle's theory of virtue and his approach to the Socratic problem of akrasia, or weakness of will.

In terms of its structure, Ancient Philosophy is presented so that each philosophical position receives: (1) a brief introduction, (2) a sympathetic review of its principal motivations and primary supporting arguments, and (3) a short assessment, inviting readers to evaluate its plausibility. The result is a book that brings the ancient arguments to life, making the introduction truly contemporary. It will serve as both a first stop and a well visited resource for any student of the subject.

Ancient Philosophy offers a vivid picture of the ideas that flourished at philosophy's long birth and considers their relevance, both to the historical development of the Western philosophical tradition, and to philosophy today.

Anthony Gottlieb’s landmark The Dream of Reason and its sequel challenge Bertrand Russell’s classic as the definitive history of Western philosophy.

Western philosophy is now two and a half millennia old, but much of it came in just two staccato bursts, each lasting only about 150 years. In his landmark survey of Western philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, The Dream of Reason, Anthony Gottlieb documented the first burst, which came in the Athens of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Now, in his sequel, The Dream of Enlightenment, Gottlieb expertly navigates a second great explosion of thought, taking us to northern Europe in the wake of its wars of religion and the rise of Galilean science. In a relatively short period—from the early 1640s to the eve of the French Revolution—Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume all made their mark. The Dream of Enlightenment tells their story and that of the birth of modern philosophy.

As Gottlieb explains, all these men were amateurs: none had much to do with any university. They tried to fathom the implications of the new science and of religious upheaval, which led them to question traditional teachings and attitudes. What does the advance of science entail for our understanding of ourselves and for our ideas of God? How should a government deal with religious diversity—and what, actually, is government for? Such questions remain our questions, which is why Descartes, Hobbes, and the others are still pondered today.

Yet it is because we still want to hear them that we can easily get these philosophers wrong. It is tempting to think they speak our language and live in our world; but to understand them properly, we must step back into their shoes. Gottlieb puts readers in the minds of these frequently misinterpreted figures, elucidating the history of their times and the development of scientific ideas while engagingly explaining their arguments and assessing their legacy in lively prose.

With chapters focusing on Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Pierre Bayle, Leibniz, Hume, Rousseau, and Voltaire—and many walk-on parts—The Dream of Enlightenment creates a sweeping account of what the Enlightenment amounted to, and why we are still in its debt.

This book is no less than a guide to the whole of Western philosophy—the ideas that have undergirded our civilization for two-and-a-half thousand years. Anthony Kenny tells the story of philosophy from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment into the modern world. He introduces us to the great thinkers and their ideas, starting with Plato, Aristotle, and the other founders of Western thought. In the second part of the book he takes us through a thousand years of medieval philosophy, and shows us the rich intellectual legacy of Christian thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, and Ockham. Moving into the early modern period, we explore the great works of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume, and Kant, which remain essential reading today. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Hegel, Mill, Nietzsche, Freud, and Wittgenstein again transformed the way we see the world. Running though the book are certain themes which have been constant concerns of philosophy since its early beginnings: the fundamental questions of what exists and how we can know about it; the nature of humanity, the mind, truth, and meaning; the place of God in the universe; how we should live and how society should be ordered. Anthony Kenny traces the development of these themes through the centuries: we see how the questions asked and answers offered by the great philosophers of the past remain vividly alive today. Anyone interested in ideas and their history will find this a fascinating and stimulating read.
Sir Anthony Kenny's engaging new history of Western philosophy now advances into the modern era. The Rise of Modern Philosophy is the fascinating story of the emergence, from the early sixteenth to the early nineteenth century, of great ideas and intellectual systems that shaped modern thought. Kenny introduces us to some of the world's most original and influential thinkers, and shows us the way to an understanding of their famous works. The thinkers we meet include René Descartes, traditionally seen as the founder of modern philosophy; the great British philosophers Hobbes, Locke, and Hume; and the towering figure of Immanuel Kant, who perhaps more than any other made philosophy what it is today. In the first three chapters Kenny tells the story chronologically: his lively accessible narrative brings the philosophers to life and fills in the historical and intellectual background to their work. It is ideal as the first thing to read for someone new to the history of modern philosophy. In the seven chapters that follow Kenny looks closely at each of the main areas of philosophical exploration in this period: knowledge and understanding; the nature of the physical universe; metaphysics (the most fundamental questions there are about existence); mind and soul; the nature and content of morality; political philosophy; and God. A selection of intriguing and beautiful illustrations offer a vivid evocation of the human and social side of philosophy. Anyone who is interested in how our understanding of ourselves and our world developed will find this a book a pleasure to read.
Hailed as “lucid and magisterial” by The Observer, this book is universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject of Western philosophy.

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.
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