We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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.
Regular Price:$31.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (678 )
5 star
 (250)
4 star
 (217)
3 star
 (128)
2 star
 (55)
1 star
 (28)
Overall
4.0 (508 )
5 star
 (209)
4 star
 (151)
3 star
 (91)
2 star
 (40)
1 star
 (17)
Story
4.0 (515 )
5 star
 (210)
4 star
 (169)
3 star
 (80)
2 star
 (36)
1 star
 (20)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 04-14-12
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 04-14-12 Member Since 2014

    54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    321
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    308
    106
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    38
    18
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "AN ALL TIME FAVORITE"

    I dont leave home without it. Its the only book that has permanent status on my Ipod. For me its that good. Will Durants amazing writing takes on philosophy, and gets read by Grover Gardner. That somehow creates a transcendent experience for me. Its become a kind of Lynus blanket. I just love it.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-21-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2014

    Letting the rest of the world go by

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1196
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    232
    209
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    167
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Benefits from because of its 1926 perspective"

    After reading this book, I feel like I'm a philosopher. Durant really knows how to engage the reader and make him feel smart. He gives enough biography and then summaries for each philosopher covered. The book really profits from the fact it was originally written in 1926 and I get to experience knowing the history that followed. He's such a good writer that the book stands up regardless of the unfolding history.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur 12-07-12
    Arthur 12-07-12 Member Since 2011

    Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).

    HELPFUL VOTES
    64
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beginners start here! This is the one you want!"

    I picked up this audiobook because I wanted to begin studying philosophy and I needed a starting point. I am not disappointed. Durant gave me the direction I was seeking and a lot more.

    One of the most valuable things it provides is the context in which each philosopher wrote their philosophy. Durant shows how the time and place of each philosopher affected each work. He also highlights the influence of other philosophers in each work.The great works of philosophy weren't created in a vacuum.

    I had never heard of Will Durant but as I listened I got the impression that whoever this guy was he really did his homework. How little did I know! Suffice to say that I believe he is qualified to write such an ambitious work. Look him up on Wikipedia if you are as ignorant as I.

    And what a narration! I can't speak highly enough of the way this sometimes difficult work was tackled by Gardner. I don't know how he did it, it's like he wrote the book himself and was conveying his own thoughts on the complicated mind of Kant or Nietzsche.

    If you don't know much about philosophy, you really can't go wrong with using this as a starting or reference point. I imagine even those with experience in the field will find Durant's insight beneficial.

    I was greatly pleased to find William James included in the discussion, but was disappointed not to find more on Descartes, Hume, Locke, and others.

    For reference, from wikipedia:

    "Philosophers profiled are, in order: Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Baruch Spinoza (with a section on Descartes), Voltaire (with a section on Rousseau), Immanuel Kant (with a section on Hegel), Arthur Schopenhauer, Herbert Spencer, and Friedrich Nietzsche." Also Henri Bergson, Benedetto Croce, Bertrand Russell, George Santayana, William James, and John Dewey.

    38 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M United States 05-23-11
    M United States 05-23-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "As beautiful as it is informative"

    This is an outstanding history of philosophy. The writing is beautiful, even moving, and the narrator marvelous.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ESK Moscow, Russia 01-25-13
    ESK Moscow, Russia 01-25-13 Member Since 2011

    There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin

    HELPFUL VOTES
    293
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    331
    58
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    38
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic and insightful book"

    Solid listen and masterly narration! I particularly enjoyed the section on Spinoza.
    The SoP gives an overview of the lives and works of the most renowned philosophers, and analyzes their ideas in terms of social, political, religious and psychological contexts.
    The book is made up of the following chapters:
    1. Plato (as well as analysis of Socrates’ life and teaching)
    2. Aristotle
    3. Francis Bacon
    4. Baruch Spinoza (also reference to Descartes)
    5. Voltaire
    6. Immanuel Kant (a brief look at Locke, Rousseau and a note on Hegel)
    7. Arthur Schopenhauer
    8. Herbert Spencer (and Darwinism)
    9. Friedrich Nietzsche (N. and Wagner)
    10. Henri Bergson
    11. Benedetto Croce
    12. Bertrand Russell
    13. George Santayana
    14. William James
    15. John Dewey
    Here’s an inspiring quotation from the SoP. ‘Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art. It arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement. Philosophy is a hypothetical interpretation of the unknown or of the inexactly known ; it is the front trench in the siege of truth.’

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeff pickering, ON, Canada 10-23-11
    jeff pickering, ON, Canada 10-23-11 Member Since 2014

    Non fiction- science, history,biography,80% classics 10% other fiction 5% misfits 5%

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    134
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "as good as it gets !!"

    take a fascinating topic and match it to a truly unique writer of matchless finesse and warranted worship and this little wonder is what you get.
    I've read it twice in a row and know that this is the rarest of books, one that Ill read many times more. Im having a hard time deleting it from my Ipod.. lol . A really rare gem. 5.stars

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Kernersville, NC, United States 10-14-11
    Anthony Kernersville, NC, United States 10-14-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    144
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Philosophy primer"

    I really like Will Durant's writting style. The book was interesting from start to finish. For me this was a great first book about the greater philosophers and provided ideas for further reading. I think Grover Gardner's narration was first rate and added to the listening pleasure.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    yesenia Denver, Colorado 07-03-12
    yesenia Denver, Colorado 07-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing work by Will Durant!"
    Where does The Story of Philosophy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The rank I gave to this Audiobook is ranking among the highest, for me is a magnificent compression of Philosophical History.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    For me the most compelling aspect of the narrative was the objective and factual way that Durant used to create this great compression of Philosophical History.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    The performance was also good, well spoken and well emphasized with some dramatization added.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    In my case I love History and Philosophy, for me the hole book was a tidbit!


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ramesh United States 05-25-11
    Ramesh United States 05-25-11

    New Orleans

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A treasure to a Superman"

    Though bias, the story of philosophy is a very good introduction to a beginner. It is very useful to anybody who wants to extend the basic understanding of how philosopher's ideas helped to shape human civilization. Narration is so good. It feels like I am listening my favorite music.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 01-29-15
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 01-29-15 Member Since 2015

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3918
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1424
    434
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1098
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent but Limited"

    This is early Durant and his depth and style improved in his later works. This volume is also quite selective including only a few of the most important or pivotal Philosophers and it was written in 1924 thus it does not cover later philosophers. I was more than a bit surprised by the little jump between Aristotle (300 BCE) and Francis Bacon (1600 CE). Nevertheless what is there is fantastic, I only wish there was more, much, much more.

    I recommend reading this before Durant’s monumental History of Civilization series.

    The narration was excellent.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 39 results PREVIOUS124NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.