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  • Published: 28 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241304549
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 720
  • RRP: $30.00

The History of Philosophy




The first truly authoritative and accessible history of philosophy to cover both Western and Eastern traditions

The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey.

With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates, through Christianity's dominance of the European mind to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too.

Intelligible for students and eye-opening for philosophy readers, he covers epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates in these areas of enquiry, through the ideas of the celebrated philosophers as well as less well-known influential thinkers. He also asks what we have learnt from this body of thought, and what progress is still to be made.

The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy for decades, remarkable for its range and clarity, this is a landmark work.

  • Published: 28 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241304549
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 720
  • RRP: $30.00

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Praise for The History of Philosophy

I find the clarity of his thinking so refreshing

Pam Ferris on The Meaning of Things

Lucid, informative and admirably accessible

New Statesman on The God Argument

Grayling writes with clarity, elegance and the occasional aphoristic twist

Daily Telegraph on The Challenge of Things

Undeniably thought-provoking

The Sunday Times on The God Argument

Five minutes with any passage will have you contemplating all day

Independent on The Good Book

Grayling is particularly good at illuminating the knottiness of moral discourse

Sunday Times on The Challenge of Things

He's more historically-minded than Russell, less dogmatic than Dawkins and less in thrall to the charms of his own fluency than Hitchens

Prospect on The Challenge of Things

If there is any such person in Britain as The Thinking Man, it is A. C. Grayling

The Times

Grayling has written a masterful and often entertaining chronicle of the epic intellectual journey we humans have taken, in different periods, countries and cultures, to understand ourselves, our world, and how we ought to live. An extraordinary accomplishment that transcends the usual bounds of academic specialization

Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University

A cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit . . . The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations

Sunday Times

The History of Philosophy is an excellent overview of great philosophical thought by an insightful practitioner of the field. It is a credit to Grayling's abilities that he has penned such a perspicuous book on some very difficult subjects-giving the a reader a clear overview of the complexities of Scholastic logic, Analytic philosophies of language and mind, and much else besides is no easy feat, but Grayling has achieved it. This is a book to be treasured, both as a guide to the subject and as a beautiful piece of writing in itself, containing great insight and wisdom. It is a testament to the continuing importance and value of philosophy.

Daniel James Sharp, Aero Magazine

Accurately offers itself as a successor to [Bertrand] Russell's classic survey . . . No other popular survey possesses this range . . . The History of Philosophy isn't just worth buying; it's worth scribbling in and dog-earing. For a work of scholarship, there can be no higher praise.

Michael Dirda, Washington Post

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