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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought, life and everything.
`The Philosophy Book' does one thing well... it explains the history of philosophy...man's thinking. It is a clearly explained textbook on ideas. It has a well written introduction that gives details how man has tried to clarify life and the world around him. It covers morality, politics, religion, and science. This is done by arranging the philosophers in chronological...
Published on March 16, 2011 by wogan

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious Attempt to cover a large subject
This book attempts to give an overview of all the major thinkers and thoughts of philosophy. It makes use of colorful charts and graph's to get it's point across. Although it does provide very good summary's of many thinkers, there are two large problems with the book. On most of the subjects, it often fails to get across or explain the idea's of the thinkers. Often there...
Published 20 months ago by TRH


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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought, life and everything., March 16, 2011
This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
`The Philosophy Book' does one thing well... it explains the history of philosophy...man's thinking. It is a clearly explained textbook on ideas. It has a well written introduction that gives details how man has tried to clarify life and the world around him. It covers morality, politics, religion, and science. This is done by arranging the philosophers in chronological order from 700 BCE and Thales of Miletus to the present and Slavoj Zizek.

The Dharma wheel is explained and it does one of the better jobs in explaining Nietzsche. There is a directory with the names of the thinkers and comparable men in the same school of thought. A really useful glossary is included, as well as an index.

Sometimes philosophy is esoteric, but this book succeeds in explaining it with time lines, diagrams, and pictures of the philosophers and of course their philosophy, thoughts and ideas. This is really the history of philosophy; trying to deduce the why and wherefore of the world, of life and existence. This would serve well those who wish to learn about philosophy and its history. It would make a good supplement to any course or work where someone is trying to learn about this subject.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that is NEEDED in this often thoughtless world., May 16, 2011
By 
Manuel Armenteros (Boca Raton, Florida, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
In this book we have a compilation of almost all "famous" and relevant philosophers in history, and of the contemporary world. This book does exactly what the title says: it explains big ideas in a simple manner. There will always be objections that ideas have been simplified as would be the case with Heidegger, Hegel and even Bertrand Russell (how would you, after all, know what to say about a person who has published over 30,000 articles?) , however I am of the opinion that it is always better to start from the bottom up in order to understand and grasp complex ideas. In any case, much of the subjects discussed in this book would eventually have to be communicated in a jargon free way if philosophy is ever going to expand to a wider public and not left alone in the "ivory tower" it often is accused of. Philosophy is one of the things we ALL do, regardless of religion, race or background ,after all, any time we enter in a discussion we are using our thoughts to make our point.

This book does the amazing job in that it is able to go through the very first philosophical statement made by Thales of Miletus "Everything is Made of Water" to Voltaire's shocking conclusion that "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" entering into the nearly non-sensical yet still interesting comment made by Roland Barthes that for a lover "Language is a skin", this book touches on all possible points of view on life, morality, certainty, phenomenology and all other subjects that philosophy is concerned with.

Sure, I would complain that sections like that of Noam Chomsky do no justice to his enormous amount of work and thought, or that the conclusion of Michel Foucault's statement that "Man is an invention of a recent date" miss his much larger concerns of power relations. Other interesting philosophers only get a brief paragraph in the end: people with such amazing thought like Friedrich Schelling, Ayn Rand, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Gilles Deleuze. However there can be no perfect book on this subject, we all are forced to choose what we think is the best thought of many people, while in reality we may be only scratching the surface or missing the point. But this is philosophy, and this is how I like it.

Give this book as a gift to a friend, or a family member or any person you may know who now suffers from "phone addiction", and let us all think and then proceed to make this often thoughtless world somewhat more colorful.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Philosophy Book, October 13, 2011
By 
Michael L. Sweet (University Place, Washington United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
This is a great book. I love the way the book is layed out with graphics and pictures. I was a philosophy major in college some 36 years ago but I am constantly reading these type of books. The Philosophy Book does a great job of introducing philosphers from all over the world and many that I have never heard about. I agree with another reviewer, that Nietzshe's section is really well done. I wish I had this book in college. It is hard to please everybody on a scope this large but for the most part, I feel that all areas of philosophy were touched upon. I like the way the writers show which branch and approach of philosphy each belong too. I also like the way the writers explained the philosophy by putting "bubbles" in a diagram. The only critique (and it is little) is that I wish more of the writing/books of each philospher were included.
Update: I bought this book over the holidays. My love for this book hasn't waned. It is a great price and gets me interested in other philosphers I haven't read. Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Design, July 28, 2011
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
This is a great coffee table book. People always look through it when we have have parties. The graphic design is great.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious Attempt to cover a large subject, April 21, 2013
This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
This book attempts to give an overview of all the major thinkers and thoughts of philosophy. It makes use of colorful charts and graph's to get it's point across. Although it does provide very good summary's of many thinkers, there are two large problems with the book. On most of the subjects, it often fails to get across or explain the idea's of the thinkers. Often there is no real context to what is presented and it's just confusing. As the philosophers get more and more modern, the explanations get worse. Another problem is that the authors see philosophy as the eternal recurrent enemy of all things religious, to the point of inserting this conflict where it does not belong. Clearly this is not the case, and when they get to explicitly religious philosophers such as St. Thomas Aquinas, there treatment starts to get bizarre. There are much better philosophy books out there I am sure, but they probably don't have as many cool pictures.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read Survey of Philosophers and Ideas, December 24, 2012
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
This is an outstanding book, and one the likes of which I have not previous encountered. I would described the function of the book as: a superficial introduction to the whole history of philosophy, chronologically looking at philosophers and their most important idea, and noting their most influential works. (note: I don't mean "superficial," of course, in a derogatory sense, but in the sense of "survey.") As far as this function is concerned, I have found no better book. The book is well written, very beautifully laid out and formatted, and the presentation cannot be beat. I enjoy Eyewitness books, but this is something a little different, and quite special. Let me explain why.

What I like about the presentation is that there is a biographical text on the more influential philosophers (the more important philosophers get two pages to themselves, very important getting 4 pages, and the most important getting 6; the lesser philosophers receive one page to themselves), and the biography is separate from the presentation of their ideas. The ideas are explained in plain English, and the key technical terms are given appropriate treatment in the discussion; there is no confusion about what Derrida's "difference" means, for example. I also think that the philosophers are appropriately afforded the correct number of pages. For example, Kant's influence being virtually unparalleled, he received 6 pages in the book, while Richard Wollheim received one. The entries that allocate two pages receive additional modes of presentation, such a flow diagrams describing the reasoning of a major idea, making everything explicitly clear. The illustrations, coloring (and general aesthetic presentation) of pages, and representations of time scales in images really added quite a bit to the book, both in terms of accenting ideas and increase the value of the experience of reading the book. This book was an absolute joy.

As far as substance: Having read something written by nearly every one of the philosophers, I found the book was still worth going through (it is a quick read, and might even serve as a modest reference book to young students of philosophy), because the book made a few interesting connections, that had not buoyed up in my mind, for example. I even stumbled across a few philosophers I had not encountered, like Naess.

I should mention the shortcomings of this book, because there are a few points that the potential buy might want to be aware of. For one, this book does well to strive toward properly including non-Eurocentric philosophers. For instance, Alfarabi notwithstanding, Mideastern philospphers of the medieval period are adequately represented and a number of Japanese philosophers are, too. However, Indian philosophy is not represented, at all, which is sad. The book doesn't do a horrible job on this point, but there are glaring oversights, which a more sympathetic (to various ethnicities) construction of such a book would do better to avoid. There are other deficiencies, such as the fact that the more technical philosophers are not given proper treatment; and I think such philosophers are especially important to such a book, because a basic discussion of ideas in logic, philosophy of math, and philosophy of science make for fantastic common-language discussions, in the eyes of most readers. Sadly, Kuhn is given only on page, an egregious oversight that virtually merits a three-star rating for this book (but I am biased...and magnanimous). Also, Bertrand Russell's entry obsesses over Russell's philosophy of idleness, which is bizarre, because the man was incredibly prolific, writing on so many topics that something, if not his contribution to philosophy of mathematics, could have been discussed, in addition to idleness. Beyond this, scientists were not adequately represented for their philosophical contributions. After all, many a philosophy publication has cited Darwin's "Origin" as being a top-ten all-time philosophy text. Another unsympathetic, underrepresentation comes in the fact that the influential religious thinkers were not included, which is unfortunate, because the atheist movement was sufficiently deferred to (Zizek, Adorno, Foucault, and so on). I think one page given to Buber or Tillich would have been satisfactory, but this is a minor issue, in my eyes (I am speaking from the consideration of my view of what would be fair, and opinions on this, obviously, will vary.) I also think that the Transcendentalist movement was inadequately represented. The exception of Ayn Rand was, in my eyes, unacceptable, because she went against the grain in a number of ways, was original, and had quite a bit of influence (among the biggest following by any individual philosopher of the 20th century and among the most copies of books printed out of any philosopher in the cnetury). I am not sure how Fanon gets two pages, and Rand does not merit one.

Overall, I think this is a great book for middle schoolers through adult layment. It is well worth a quick perusal by undergraduate philosophy students, just to get a good view of the historical philosophical vista. Beyond the knowledge of a third year undergraduate in philosophy, the book precipitously loses value. This is a must read for folks interested in philosophy, not having a philosophy education, and the wonderful thing is the degree of accessibility avails it to all, including youths in the range of 10 years old. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, December 8, 2012
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
I recommend this to everyone on earth. You shouldn't even hesitate- just buy it. It's worth every dollar. Very good publishing, excellent quality.

First of all, it's very organized. It's a lot different from learning philosophy from wikipedia.It allows you to see how philosophy progressed. It starts with the ancient world, Thales' idea: Everything is made of water. Then medieval world, it's all about religion. Then renaissance and people start talking about existing- being- thinking. Then the age of revolution, things get complicated. Rousseau, Hume, Voltaire, and Burke's "society contract". Then we move on to the modern world. Nietzsche, Jaspers, Satre, Hannah Arendt and many other. Finally we reach Contemporary philosophy. Feminism! Language is a skin. Animal rights. Ideas of people who are still alive today.

When we examine each idea, we see the main idea, the context, the approach, historical timeline and basic argumentation of the idea so we can see the logic in it. Then, there's the idea- explained. Finally, the philosopher's biography and key works. Everything you need for further research.

This brings me to my final argument. You can browse. The entire book is linked. The ideas are put together in a cohesive way. That's not something you can find on the internet. At least not as good.

BIG IDEAS SIMPLY EXPLAINED- indeed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thoughts, Great Presentation, Great Editing, December 18, 2011
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
This book comes to us from DK publishers, who are widely known and admired for their terrific graphic presentations. It comes, as it not uncommon with DK, without any cover attribution to either author or editor. So let me sing praises to the anonymous band who compiled this wonderful volume: Yes! Yes! Yes! Truly, it is excellent, with a long list of famous, infamous, and never-heard-of philosophers presented on one to four pages, generally hinging on the philosopher's historical significance. The best part about this book is its breadth. It doesn't just cover Western philosophy, or Eastern philosophy, as is generally the case with compilations. The Philosophy Book, in non-intimidating, yet highly informative bite-sized bits, covers critical thinking from every part of the world through every age of the world. Beautifully, it even links thoughts and thinkers through multiple time-lines throughout. You can buy it from Amazon for LESS than $20! Even if, like so many of the contributors, you're unemployed, living on bread and water, and buying it is a squeeze, skip a meal a day for a week and buy this book. You'll get more sustenance out of it than you will a few foregone lunches.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves out a discussion of free will and determinism., July 3, 2013
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This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
I guess free will and determinism is too tough a nut to crack. This book did not discuss it. The rest is an adequate introductory to various philosophers, some quite obscure ones included gratis. It's ok if you are prepared for its limitations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done!, August 16, 2014
This review is from: The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) (Hardcover)
Clearly the product of considerable efforts, this book superbly succeeds in attractively presenting major philosophers and their chief ideas in chronological order from Antiquity to the 21st century.

One to six pages are devoted to each philosopher. In addition to a short but significant essay, each of these sections includes:
* a `context' box pointing out the applicable philosophical branch and approach as well as main predecessors and followers;
* a short biography;
* a list of key works;
* references to linked thinkers discussed elsewhere in the book;
* short quotations in bold script.

The colourful and lively lay-out is fully worthy of current technological possibilities. Illustrations are abundant: cartoons, diagrams, photos of paintings or of philosophers' portraits, etc.

The book also includes timelines, a glossary, an index and a `directory' of noteworthy truth-seekers who are not covered in individual sections.

This work is warmly recommended to all: those familiar with philosophy will benefit from a unique synthesis and others will be stimulated to further their exploration of the topic.
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The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)
The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) by Will Buckingham (Hardcover - January 17, 2011)
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