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The Oxford History of Western Philosophy
Synopses & Reviews
This splendidly written volume takes the reader on a magnificent chronological tour through the revolutions of thought that have forged the Western philosophical tradition from ancient times to the present. Throughout, the six contributors--an internationally renowned team of philosophers including Roger Scruton, Anthony Quinton, and Anthony Kenny--bring the astonishingly diverse, wide-ranging landscape of intellectual history into sharp focus, emphasizing how notions seen today as part of an inevitable march of ideas were in their own time often considered radical, if not revolutionary. Thus we are treated to lively accounts of how Plato's "theory of forms" and Aristotle's pioneering exercises in logic broke with the past to irrevocably alter the course of Western thought. The authors also reveal the relationships between landmark thinkers, and the ways they drew on their intellectual heritage. They show, for instance, how St. Augustine and Aquinas, though advancing the cause of Christian doctrine, picked up where their pagan Greek forebears had left off. We witness how, during the Renaissance, the profound empiricist ideas underlying Descartes's famous utterance--"I think, therefore I exist"--lived in a tense but complementary relationship with Locke's rationalist theories. Moving into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the book explores how Hume greatly influenced Kant's conception of the "transcendental aesthetic," and how Hegel drew upon the lesser known (but groundbreaking) work of Fichte and Schelling. The authors bring the story up to our own time, vividly recounting the existential trend from Nietzsche ("God is dead") to Sartre, along with other increasingly fractious schools of thought.
Engagingly written and astonishingly far-reaching, The Oxford History of Western Philosophy provides the consummate introduction to the intellectual bedrock upon which Western civilization is built.
This splendidly written volume takes the reader on a magnificent chronological tour through the revolutions of thought that have forged the Western philosophical tradition from ancient times to the present.
This authoritative history of philosophy for the general reader tells the story of Western philosophy from its ancient beginnings to the present day, emphasizing the intellectual context of its development. It offers a detailed account of the lives and works of major thinkers through the ages.
About the Author
Sir Anthony Kenny, president of the British Academy and Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford University, is the author of numerous works including What is Faith?, The Metaphysics of Mind, and Aristotle on the Perfect Life.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. Ancient Philosophy; 2. Medieval Philosophy; 3. Descartes to Kant; 4. Continental Philosophy from Fichte to Sartre; Mill to Wittgenstein; Political Philosophy; Afterword; Chronological Table; Further Reading; Index.
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