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.
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.
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.
I like history and biography, novels too. I do have a thing for zombie books as well. I need crappy thrillers now and then.
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.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
British philosopher Nigel Warburton has written a very brief summary of western philosophy starting with Socrates and later Greek and then Roman philosophers ending in the early common era (about 100 AD), He then jumps to the 18th century and on to the present. The strongest parts of the audiobook are the Greek/Roman period and the 18th/19th centuries. His coverage the 1870-current period is very weak and his selection of philosophers often wrong-headed in my view. For example, he discusses 18th and 19th century political and economic philosophers in some detail ending with Marx, but then ignores 20th century political and economic philosophy completely. His 20th century discussions are largely about the less interesting area of aesthetics.
Warburton takes on an impossible task with this book and in doing so has made a worthwhile contribution to the general understanding of those who listen to it. The audiobook is very worthwhile. I rate the book 3 stars mostly because of the weakness of the discussion of the 1870 to current period.
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.
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 and enjoyable"
, i don't like the idea that we are forced to make long reviews, that is my final philosophical, viewpoint
absolutely loved it! listened to it everywhere, in the bath, walking to work, everywhere. highly recommended.
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.
"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.
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!
book provides an incredible insight into the history of philosophy and the many discussions of notable philosophers through the centuries.
"Entertaining and briefly informative"
I really enjoyed this quick and pleasant romp through a dizzying array of philosophers.
Sometimes familiar, sometimes not.
Highly recommended as an initial charge into the subject.
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