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The Philosophers: Introducing Great Western Thinkers [Paperback]

By Honerich Ted (Author) & Ted Honderich (Editor)
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Item description for The Philosophers: Introducing Great Western Thinkers by Honerich Ted & Ted Honderich...

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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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.73" Width: 5.13" Height: 0.68"
Weight:   0.68 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 28, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0192854186  
ISBN13  9780192854186  

Availability  110 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 05:09.
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More About Honerich Ted & Ted Honderich

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Ted Honderich is Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London and has also taught at Yale University and the City College of New York. He is the author most recently of How Free Are You? and the editor of the acclaimed Oxford Companion to Philosophy. He lives in the United Kingdom.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Criticism
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Philosophers: Introducing Great Western Thinkers?

What happened to Voltaire???  Feb 19, 2003
This is an excellent book describing in a brief way (but complete) the bios and phylosophical ideas of the greatest thinkers. But only one thing: where is Voltaire??? The author forgot to include one of the best thinkers of all times.
Excellent  Dec 16, 2002
This book was good for many reasons. However, it isn't exactly meant for the beginner in philosophy as the authors fail to define some of the simple terms that need definition like ethics and phenomology. However, for someone with some knowledge of philosophy, this book is great because it introduces you to all of the major works and ideas of all of the major western philosophers. I still remember many of the interesting ideas and debates, like the ongoing discussion that the philosophers had on God.

Some people say that philosophy no longer has use because philosophical problems have been assimilated by philosophy's offspring, science and math. However, there are some things, like religious concerns and claims of value, that are still covered by philosophy, and historical philosophical problems and ideas can still stimulate much discussion and thought. This book is excellent in developing knowledge of these things because of the numerous essays.

I thought that the book was as fair as could be expected and any variation in the size of an article can't be determined to be larger than chance. The variation in size of an article could be due to the fact that some philosopher's ideas simply took less space to explain or some philosophers had less ideas or less complex ideas than other philosophers. In addition, some authors are more wordy than other authors, conveying the same amount of facts with more writing.

Irregardless, the book was enjoyable, and philosophy can be more than just memorizing ideas and arguments. I found myself introspecting and examining deeply held ideas, and this process resulted in positive changes. Philosphical debates rest on reasons and evidence, and this logical process allowed me to discover and reinvigorate many logical principles, improving my reason.

A good, but biased reference...  Jun 27, 2001
This book provides an acceptable introduction to some of the philosophies which have influenced Western culture from Socrates to Sartre. It provides a brief background of each man and his most influential works, most of which are still available. However, I feel that there is a liberal partiality towards the treatment of each philosopher's work. For example, the entries on most "Christian" philosophers are shorter than that of the skeptics and atheists. The works which dealt with Christianity in general are either tersely handled, or completely ignored. When a theist theory is introduced it is dismantled in an unapologetic manor which will lead a reader who is not well versed in the subject at hand to adopt a similar, and biased, idea. Also, when a skeptical theory is discussed it is shown in a favorable light, or it is glossed over as being something it is not. For example, in the section on Friedrich Nietzsche, the author propounded that Nietzsche did not disapprove of Christianity, but felt that if was in fact an institution which is of value to some individuals. However, in the conclusion of Nietzsche's final work "The Antichrist" he states, ". . I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough,--I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race. . . that the greatest plague to man has been Christianity...". This author's bias is telling of the theme of the entire book, therefore I do not recommend it as an introduction to the subject.
An admirable effort  Apr 9, 2000
Philosophy has become the domain of academic specialists. Watch a television game show, such as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and determine how many questions regarding philosophy are asked of contestants. The American public seems to have little knowledge of philosophy, lacking even knowledge of trivia regarding the philosophers (such as names, dates, doctrines, contributions, or nationalities of philosophers).

Perhaps sensing the need for books on philosophy that are accessible to the general reader, Oxford University Press publishes quality books on philosophy that are introductory in nature. One of OUP's recent books targeted at the non-specialist is Ted Honderich's "The Philosophers," which is a short introduction to twenty-eight great Western philosophers. Each chapter contains a concise introduction to a great philosopher that is written by an expert. The book is illustrated with portraits of each of the philosophers, and includes a Chronological Table of Philosophy. In addition, each chapter includes a guide to further reading (worthy additions because the book itself gives the reader just enough information to spark an interest for further study).

Overall, "The Philosophers" does an admirable job of introducing the great Western philosophers to the general reader. Hopefully, Oxford University Press will continue its commendable effort to bring philosophy to the general reader by publishing similar books in the future. Highly recommended.


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