Philosophy begins 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, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood.
This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about the world and how best to live in it. In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton guides us on a chronological tour of the major ideas in the history of philosophy. He provides interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers 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.
Warburton not only makes philosophy accessible, he offers inspiration to think, argue, reason, and ask in the tradition of Socrates. A Little History of Philosophy presents the grand sweep of humanity's search for philosophical understanding and invites all to join in the discussion.
©2011 Nigel Warburton (P)2014 Audible Studios
This was a very interesting overview of major philosophers from Socrates to the present time. Just the right level for me. I had studided briefly some philosophy in college, but forgotten most of it, and wanted an overview the major people and ideas.
This was perfect and the reading was excellent.
If you're new to philosophy, this is a good summary view of the field from Aristotle to Singer. There are some interesting omissions, such as Heidegger, and some nice looks at modern issues.
It's not a deep book, nor is it intended to be. It gives a snapshot for inspiration for further learning.
If you have a fair grasp of philosophy already, and have struggled through a few writers on your own, you might do better with Will Durant's Story of Philosophy, in which the author takes on many of the same philosophers with more vigor. Bertrand Russell's Problems of Philosophy covers many of the issues with less history.
In the Great Courses series there are similar summaries. Exploring Metaphysics is one I can recommend. Great Minds of the Medieval World covers many of the early philosophers found here with more depth.
Finally, a nice summary of highlights of western philosophy. I loved every minute of it and will re-listen a few more times in the future.
I'm listening to Proust now. Always on the lookout for a good zombie, horror, or sci-fi book. Like books on writing, history, travel.
Really enjoyable overview of western thinking with a strong narrator. Organization is mostly chronological. Easy to listen to chapters a couple of time. This is prepping me before reading actual works by some of the philosophers.
Each key philosophy is described in chronological order and in detail. The author makes this complex subject come alive. His narrative is newbie - friendly and scholarly. =)
I liked the voice of the Narrator.
I was mostly drawn to Boethius' story. I had not head of him before.
This is an informative book but I became tired of it towards the end especially when it discussed Charles Darwin. I don't consider him a philosopher and therefore I don't think he should have a chapter in the book. After that, I was turned off.
Judith H. Taylor
I enjoy listening to books as I do other things around the house and especially enjoy a well written and spoken book when finding myself wide awake during the night.
Clear and sometimes entertaining history of the world's most famous philosophers and some of their rather unique turns of mind.
Definitely a book I will listen to more than once. Would recommend it highly.
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict.
This book does not stick out in any spectacular way. It was well written but not prosaic. It was funny but not hilarious. It was informative, but it did not explore new frontiers. Still, I quite liked this book. Each chapter dealt with one or two of the usual suspects in the history of philosophy. Following the Western philosophical tradition, it begins, with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and a few other Greek dudes. I was slightly disappointed that Democritus, a personal favorite, did not get a chapter. He then moves on, chronologically, devoting chapters to Machiavelli, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, as well as Darwin and William James who I consider to be more like scientists (though I guess that scientists are in some sense philosophers). The author also devotes chapters to some modern scholars such as Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein, Turing, and Peter Singer who is still trying to poke the world with his version of utilitarianism.
Since chapters are short and economically written, you rarely get bored as a reader. This is quite hard to do, and it seems to me that many authors lack the ability to only keep the most relevant text. Apart from a brief comprehensible description of the ideas of each philosopher, the author also provides the historical context. Unlike Bertrand Russell's History of Western philosophy, which is much much longer, this book does not give a detailed analysis of the validity of every idea. Typically it merely describes the ideas and leaves the rest to the reader.
If you have forgotten your introductory philosophy or if you would like to get an introduction to philosophy, but you don’t have weeks to spend then this book is an excellent choice.
Loved it. Not too heavy going for the person in the street (me). The author also does the excellent philosophy bites podcast. Recommended.
"Tremendous overview of western philosophy"
Engaging, thought-provoking and concise.
I've heard nearly all of the their names, but really I never had a clear concept of the ideas of the major western philosophers, until I listened to this book. In a remarkably easy-to-listen-to style, the author presents a neat, somewhat superficial but pithy summary of arguably the 40 most important and influential western philosophers in modern history. From Socrates and Plato through to Peter Singer, he introduces the person, his key ideas and contributions to thought, and how others received his or her ideas.I know more now than I did before, and have enjoyed listening to this book so much I'm going to listen to it again.
Haven't listened to any of Kris's other performances. I thought he had some slightly unusual pronunciation - a long 'a' in "Isaac" and two equally-emphasized syllables in "at-om" jarred slightly for me, but he is a clear, warm-voiced reader and I would happily listen to more.
It made me thirsty for more of the same - and I wonder if there is a similarly concise, masterly overview of eastern philosophy available in a similar format?
Highly recommended - accessible, interesting, and thought provoking stuff, which makes me realise a lot of the moral or intellectual questions which we all ponder from time to time are well-rehearsed, categorised, and have been thoroughly explored by philosophers who - for the most part - have something to say on the subjects which merits a bit of our attention. Five stars.
"Easy read of a difficult subject."
Superb sampler of an often dense and difficult subject beautiful easy read......Loved it
Would recommend as an introduction to all the major philosophers and there work.
absolutely loved it! listened to it everywhere, in the bath, walking to work, everywhere. highly recommended.
"Easy and enjoyable"
, i don't like the idea that we are forced to make long reviews, that is my final philosophical, viewpoint
Great bite-sized intro to major philosophical threads from ancient world to present. Doesn't dwell on individuals but presents the ideas chronologically and simply.
"Thoroughly fascinating from start to finish."
Excellently read by the narrator, this book shines a light on the core ideas of some of the world's greatest thinkers. Devoting a chapter to each person, the author gives you just enough information as to be satisfying, while also leaving you with the desire to seek out more specifics about the works of Socrotes, Mill, Sartre, and Singer.
If you're looking for a quality audio book that will explain Western philosophy to you, then this is it. Starting chronologically from Socrates to the present day, it charts all of the most notable philosophers and their various ideas. It is supremely well written and narrated, as well as being very informative without being too high-brow. Highly recommended.
Really enjoyed this book. It's a great way to get an overview of philosophy in bit size chunks.
Not a bad book on introduction to philosophy! Not super in depth but encourages firther reading and research. Really enjoyed it and will be reading some further books!
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