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Review: A Little History of Philosophy

Posted on December 31 2017

Too often is ‘philosophy’ viewed as an inaccessible realm of thought and reading reserved only for scholars of obscure, elite realms of intellect. Not anymore. In this book, philosophy is re-introduced to us in its simplest and purest form, beginning with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions despite public shunning and judgement, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. These hard questions, difficult to face back in his time, are brought to light in our very own day and age through this book, reminding us of the vastitude of life and experiences that lie beyond our daily lives. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about our world and how best to live in it.

In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton invites us to embark on a chronological tour that tracks the life and times of the major thinkers — their noteworthy philosophical ideas and contributions throughout history. Interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers further explain why these philosophers believed what they did and why they chose to hold on to certain schools of thought instead of others. Beginning from Socrates, who chose to die by hemlock poisoning rather than live on without the freedom to think for himself, to Peter Singer, who asks the disquieting philosophical and ethical questions that haunt our own times, A Little History of Philosophy not only documents significant moments in the growth and development of philosophy but also provides invaluable insight to the men behind these ideas that have, over time, shaped the world as we know it.


Making philosophy highly accessible and enjoyable, through this book Warburton offers us a springboard of inspiration to keep thinking, arguing, reasoning, and asking questions - giving us more than enough reason to look at the world around us in child-like wonder, as these great philosophers have before us. A Little History of Philosophy presents the grand sweep of humanity's search for philosophical understanding and invites readers to join in the discussion.

 

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