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The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers | [Will Durant]

The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers

Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.
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Publisher's Summary

The product of 11 years of research, The Story of Philosophy is an endlessly inspiring and instructive chronicle of the world’s greatest thinkers, from Socrates to Santayana. Written with exacting and scrupulous scholarship, it was designed both to command the respect of educators and to capture the interest of the layman.

Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.

Will Durant (1885-1981) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He spent over 50 years writing his critically acclaimed 11-volume series The Story of Civilization. A champion of human-rights issues such as social reform and the brotherhood of man long before they were popular, he continues to educate and entertain readers and listeners worldwide through his writings.

©1926 Will Durant (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A delight.” (New York Times)

“Easily the most engaging writer of Western intellectual history in the English language, Will Durant breathes life into philosophers and their ideas. He is colorful, witty, and above all, informative.” (Amazon.com review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (609 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Max Osterhaus Oakland, CA USA 03-13-13
    Max Osterhaus Oakland, CA USA 03-13-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful, no complaints!"
    What did you love best about The Story of Philosophy?

    What masterful writing and thinking. Durant is brilliant.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Such a great way to introduce and understand philosophical ideas and see how they arise.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He clearly understands what he is reading and helps with the clarity by emphasizing the right things. One of my favorite narrators.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not laughing or crying, but certainly a few Eureka moments!


    Any additional comments?

    For any student of philosophy at any level, this is golden.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoffrey Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 03-11-13
    Geoffrey Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 03-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Well written, well told, well worth a listen"
    Where does The Story of Philosophy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Story of Philosophy was written in 1925. It was among the earliest books by Mr. Durant. It is a delight. As the title implies it is a survey of the great philosophers - their lives, their thought, their place in history. For anyone interested in gaining an appreciation of such things it would you would be hard pressed to find a better resource. For those seeking to reacquaint themselves with matters last contemplated years ago in school, it is similarly valuable. The level of detail is just right for either of these purposes, as is the selection of the philosophers Mr. Durant covers. In addition he writes beautifully. I found this book an absolute pleasure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Hunt Takoma Park, MD 03-05-13
    Ryan Hunt Takoma Park, MD 03-05-13 Member Since 2012

    Ryan Hunt

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    "Excellent Read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, if interested in the subject of philosophy. Helped me to explore different thoughts in a concise way, and encouraged me to learn more.


    Any additional comments?

    Very informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 05-19-14
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 05-19-14 Member Since 2010

    Audio-addict!!

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    "I worship Will Durant, but..."

    This early book isn't the best introduction to Durant's body of work, nor is it indicative of his later grace, style and delectable brilliance. I'm not saying it is poorly written, but he makes references to people and modes of thought that he doesn't discuss, many I am not familiar with, or that I need a refresher to remember.

    This was Durant's first published success. The money he made through this book allowed him the opportunity to travel to each location he writes about in his Magnus Opus "History of Civilization." (Volumes 1-4 are currently available on a Audible. They will blow your mind)

    I'm not in a position to give a critical review of this work, because I am not nearly as well-versed in philosophy. However, I know a little, and I was confused about his choices. For ex. Will chooses a few obvious philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, then next up: Francis Bacon??? Wait where are the Stoics? Epicureans? These seem important. Moreover, after listening to his short expo on Bacon, I have no idea why he is important. (I'm not saying he isn't imp, just that this treatment of him is too short to be worthwhile)

    Now, are you still reading my review? I feel guilty for saying anything about Durant that is less than entirely positive. My feelings about his History of Civilization can't be put into words. So much of his personality comes out in his HoC series, that it's hard not to adore him. But....

    But if you want a real refresher on western philosophy- check out History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russel. It's an exceptional audiobook. Russell was a bit older, but was still a contemporary of Durant, and is cited in his books. This generation of authors is spectacular!

    --- This audio had excellent narration. And if you are a philosophy buff, you might completely adore this.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pierre Montreal, QC, Canada 12-10-12
    Pierre Montreal, QC, Canada 12-10-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Boring"
    What would have made The Story of Philosophy better?

    To tell how philosophy itself developed over the years would be more interesting than the details of the lives of the philosophers.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I will look for it. Do not know yet.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was great. No complaint.


    What character would you cut from The Story of Philosophy?

    None


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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