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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant and Concise Introduction, October 27, 2004
This review is from: A Brief History of Western Philosophy (Paperback)
This work is ideal for those interested in philosophy but who have been previously intimidated by the profuse professional jargon of material on this topic.

The most influential minds, from philosophy's earliest beginnings to Wittgenstein, are covered in a compact, readable, yet highly scholarly manner. Readers must remember that philosophy is an unbelievably vast area that is continually evolving, and that one's personal affiliations and beliefs influence one's perception of it. No single book can cover each and every philosophical concept, nor can a single volume please every reader in its space allocations. While certain subjects might have been covered more thoroughly, do not let inevitable restrictions prevent you from reading this work. It will broaden your horizons.

'A Brief History of Western Philosophy' lays the groundwork for any further explorations, providing both the novice and the professional with invaluable information - in short, it is an ideal and indispensable reference work.

Reading this work will give a thorough overview of philosophy, and, in my opinion, is one of the best written so far. Intrepid minds can gladly go on to do in-depth research on particular figures, something that this book will certainly inspire.

Perhaps I am especially partial to this book because of my personal interest in the thought of Kant and Wittgenstein, philosophers given particular attention here. In fact, the chapter on Kant is one worth reading for any student in the area - it presents the ideas very cohesively.

In response to Mr. Lee's review, no philosophical work can be so objective as to leave out the author's own opinion completely; if you had read the material properly, you might have understood that, in a way, objectivity is impossible.

Anyhow, those with the smallest particle of common sense will read every book they touch with suspicion and shouldn't fall into the trap of unquestioningly believing everything they read. Every book on the subject of philosophy has a flaw of its own - it must have, since no one is perfect and can provide all the answers. Differentiating between fact and opinion is something that we all learn at school. One sentence should certainly not stop possible readers from delving into this wonderfully comprehensive work.

Also, you state that you know of almost no significant chemists or biologists who found philosophy helpful; may I ask what they would do without the foundations of questioning existing beliefs and ever searching for the truth that philosophy has laid for them? Everyone is influenced by his or her philosophical and religious beliefs and stances - even scientists. Who can say what truly influenced those great minds?

If you want to begin your adventures in the world of philosophy; if you are interested in a particular figure or concept and wish a scholarly, concise summary; or if you are an academic mind seeking to refresh 'forgotten lore', then this book is for you.
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