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The Philosophers: Introducing Great Western Thinkers Paperback – June 28, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0192854186 ISBN-10: 0192854186 Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1St Edition edition (June 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854186
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,455,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The 28 essays here, on the best-known philosophers from ancient times to the presentAfrom Socrates to SartreAwere selected and reproduced in their entirety (including illustrated portraits and a philosophy time line) from The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (LJ 7/95). The essays are uniformly well done, as in the entire Companion, but as they have already appeared in print in that volume, most libraries that own it could pass on this work. Those that do not should consider it, as well as the more comprehensive A Critical History of Western Philosophy (Free Pr., 1986), a classic on the subject.ALeon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Mgt. Lib., Washington, DC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"The essays are uniformly well-done."--Library Journal


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. King on April 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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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By Jacob Porter on December 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
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By A Customer on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rosa M. on March 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little philosophical compendium is one of that kind of masterpiece that we find rarely. It is a trip by the whole human thinking, and it has; at least for me, an accurate perception about the way the most important known thinkers perceived the world and how it functions. I truly recommend this gem because it is so complete and so enjoyable that nobody will regret acquiring it.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Xtal guy on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
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.
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