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.
“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)
I've listened to this now 10+ times. Originally sought out Will Durant because I learned that Alan Watts was greatly influenced by him.
I also found the readers voice most pleasing.
A concise view of philosophy throughout history and wonderful comparison between the classic, great thinkers.
Philosophy doesn't exactly lend itself to the audio book format. I found myself making liberal use of the 30 second rewind throughout the entire book. There are simply too many ideas with too many nuances present in the text. Despite my minor difficulty adjusting to the format, I fully enjoyed Durant's historical tour de force. He does have his own biases and these are quite evident as he explains the work of other thinkers. But I wouldn't have it any other way. To truly engage with a worldview, you have to respond to it honestly, and Durant does. After giving a short biography and then going into detail about each figure's main ideas, he offers up criticism from his 20th Century point of view.
As per Headline - good entry level book that gives access to some of the great philosophers backgrounds and their histories that perhaps led to their particular philosophical leanings. Looks at the development of the personality of noted philosophers in line with historical events influencing their life and growth of thought.
A lot to take in (for me) and so I preferred (as I do) to take it slowly over time.
laden with much content and written in a good, yet sometimes dry fashion, this book walks you through the history of western philosophy from the ancient Greek to modern times. certainly highly recommendable.
Never did I think that a book written in 1926 would resonate so well in modern times. Much care was taken crafting the prose, more than in modern books. Half the time I was bookmarking insight of philosophers, and half the time I was noting the author's own elegant turns of phrase. Example: "To see how short life is, one must have lived long". And "a man who has lived to 70 has survived his pessimism"
audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.
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.
I would recommend this book to individuals who wanted a good overview of the history of philosophy.
I initially read this book in a Introduction to Philosophy course some 35 year ago and just wanted a refresher on what was contained in this book. Needless to say, I forgot a lot, and maybe some sections of the book I never read. It was an enjoyable visit with a great American Professor of philosophy.
Ideas and thoughts never change
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