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)
The Story of Philosophy is a very worthy listen but is a work of its times. First written in 1926, it remains remarkably relevant but is also full of the colour of its day. The author's voice and views sing through the work and brings the philosophies to life but this can skew the view one gets of some of the philosophers.
The book is fantastic as a primer to philosophy but be prepared to re-listen to some sections or do further reading on some of the works discussed before forming a view on the philosophers discussed. It should not be considered definitive.
This book is worth listening to for the historical facts that it offers, as well as for its comprehensiveness. Durant touches on a good number of important philosophers since ancient Greece, and does so with great depth. However, it's important to take into consideration that this is not a new book, and that it depends on the scholarship of its time. Certain readings of later philosophers seem outdated, e.g. the understanding of Nietzsche's will to power and his superman, who, despite appearing only early in _Zarathustra_ and then being discarded, is given a lot of significance. As long as one is aware that the author is presenting only his understanding of the philosophers and that his take does not represent the absolute truth, this is a decent read.
I would recommend if the friend was studying philosophy
I was hoping for an encapsulation and summation of the great philosophers
It was difficult to tell the difference of the authors input versus the written words pf the philosopher. ie there was not a voice change.
The Story of Philosophy is a great resource for someone looking for a good foundation in Western Philosophy. Although it would be nice to have had a bit more exploration of the ancient Greek and Roman Philosophers and less emphasis at the end of the book on 20th Century Europeans and Americans, this is a great book presented in an enjoyable way. The biographical information provided for each philosopher is historically interesting and creates a useful context for the philosophies developed by each of the men discussed. For anyone interested in beginning a study in philosophy, this is the place to start.
Yes. Like Russell's History of Western Philosophy it helps to put the philosophers in place and time. Listening to it is a great way to absorb it. Listen to both, twice or more, before you start delving deeper into philosophy.
What masterful writing and thinking. Durant is brilliant.
Such a great way to introduce and understand philosophical ideas and see how they arise.
He clearly understands what he is reading and helps with the clarity by emphasizing the right things. One of my favorite narrators.
Not laughing or crying, but certainly a few Eureka moments!
For any student of philosophy at any level, this is golden.
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.
Yes, if interested in the subject of philosophy. Helped me to explore different thoughts in a concise way, and encouraged me to learn more.
Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!
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.
To tell how philosophy itself developed over the years would be more interesting than the details of the lives of the philosophers.
I will look for it. Do not know yet.
The narrator was great. No complaint.
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