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.
In “The Value of Free Thought,” Russell once again proves himself a ruthless foe of stifling orthodoxy and a fearless champion of free thought, free action and free speech. Then in a series of articles on a subject near to his heart, he explores the effect of atomic physics on such philosophic concepts as materialism, idealism, determinism and faith. In short, here is a complete banquet of provocative ideas—wise and witty; skeptical and profound—to whet the appetite of every discriminating reader.
In his celebrated essay, In Praise of Idleness, Russell champions the seemingly incongruous notion that realizing our full potential—and thus enjoying the greatest possible success and happiness—is not accomplished by working harder or smarter, but through harnessing the extraordinary power of idleness.
Russell’s penetrating insights and exquisite turns of phrase feel as fresh and relevant today as when they were first written. Arguing that we can achieve far more by doing far less and that traditional wealth accumulation is a form of cultural and moral poverty, Russell demands greater depth from our age of abundant creativity and heralds the next wave of enlightened entrepreneurs.