The Philosophers: Introducing Great Western Thinkers

Oxford Univeristy Press (1995)
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Abstract

What better introduction to the world of philosophy than through the lives of its most prominent citizens. In The Philosophers, we are introduced to twenty-eight of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization, ranging from Aristotle and Plato to Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Sartre. An illustrious team of scholars takes us on a concise and illuminating tour of some of the most brilliant minds and enduring ideas in history. Here is Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, Plato's cave of shadows, Schopenhauer's vision of reality as blind, striving Will, Hegel's idea of the World Spirit, Bentham's principle of the Greatest Happiness, Mill's contributions to our understanding of liberty, William James's theory of the stream of consciousness, Husserl's phenomenology, and much more. Readers will find thoughtful discussions of everything from Kant's categorical imperative, to the Christian philosophies of Augustine, Aquinas, and Kierkegaard, to the materialism of Hobbes or Marx, to the modern--and quite different--philosophical systems of Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Each article is illustrated with a portrait of the philosopher, the contributors provide lists for further reading, and the volume includes a chronological table that gives valuable historical context. Here then is an authoritative and engaging guide to the ideas of the most notable philosophers, ranging from antiquity to the present day. The Philosophers shows how these great thinkers wrestled with the central problems of the human condition--with important questions of free will, morality, and the limits of logic and reason--as it illuminates their legacy for our time.

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Ted Honderich
University College London

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