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A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living (Learning to Live) Paperback – December 27, 2011
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“This is a vital book. Luc Ferry rehabilitates the ancient question, ‘What is the best way of life?’ as though our lives depended on it. ... The reader will find her own experience clarified, and her horizon enlarged.” (MATTHEW B. CRAWFORD, New York Times bestselling author of Shop Class as Soulcraft)
“A philosophical survival kit, in which the reader will find brilliant ideas to help them think better and live better.” (L'EXPRESS)
“This superb primer proves that philosophy belongs at the center of life.” (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review))
“No dry academic, Ferry restores to philosophy a compelling urgency.” (Booklist (starred review))
“One of the best books that has come across my desk over the last year. … Readers who don’t know much about philosophy will find this book accessible; and those who do will find its approach fresh and stimulating.” (First Things)
“An engaging, accessible work... strong evidence for an important conception of philosophy’s enduring relevance.” (Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy)
“Lucid and accessible … Ferry defends human dignity against post-modern doubt … a serious thinker” (ROBERT ROYAL, First Things)
From the Back Cover
Eight months on the bestseller lists in France!
From the timeless wisdom of the ancient Greeks to Christianity, the Enlightenment, existentialism, and postmodernism, Luc Ferry’s instant classic brilliantly and accessibly explains the enduring teachings of philosophy—including its profound relevance to modern daily life and its essential role in achieving happiness and living a meaningful life. This lively journey through the great thinkers will enlighten every reader, young and old.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ferry seems to have two other goals as well: 1) to provide, as the title suggests, a brief history of ideas; and 2) to attempt an answer to the question: What must we do to be saved? The answer to that question becomes the thread which weaves chapters on Stoicism, Christianity, Postmodernism, etc. together.
The first half of the book is the strongest. His discussion of the Stoics is informative and lively, as is his compelling look at the influence and import of Christian theology. The second half of the book seems to lose focus a bit. The chapter on postmodernity is essentially a very long chapter on Nietzsche and, while Nietzsche always makes for interesting reading (and he is cited extensively), midway through the chapter one feels as though Ferry has really digressed. Similarly, the last chapter, "After Deconstruction," meanders (interestingly) about, but never really makes a firm point.
Ferry's own answer to the question--Which way lies salvation?--is anticlimactic, though not without merit and sincerity. I won't go into his response here because I think it would be a bit of a spoiler. Suffice it to say that he does proffer a response, though I personally found it disappointing. By contrast, Andre Comte-Sponville's ...Read more ›
Philosophy, according to Ferry, starts from a very simple proposition, one that contains the central question of all philosophy: that the human being, as distinct from God, is mortal or, to speak like the philosophers, is a `finite being', limited in space and time. Consequently he cannot prevent himself from thinking about this state of affairs, which is disturbing and absurd, almost unimaginable. And, naturally enough, he is inclined to turn first of all to those religions which promise `salvation'. Faced with the supreme threat to existence - death - how does religion work? essentially, through faith. By insisting that it is faith, and faith alone, which can direct the grace of God towards us. The philosophical pride: the effrontery evident already in the earliest philosophers, from Greek antiquity, several centuries before Christ.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very thougtfull help for those like me never had in hand a shrt histiry of our way of dealing with our thougts as of today. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Luiz R. S. Candiota
Excellent read. Helps understand philosophy thought progress from the Stoics to Post-Moderns. Includes Christian thought as well, though Luc Perry is a secular humanist. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dr. PJ
I love this book and the way it is written. The author made the subject easy to understand without all the technical terms of philosophy.Published 11 months ago by Mrs. Germaine Smith
Excellent introduction to philosophy. A must read for any one interested in the big questions about the universe, the world and ourselves.Published 14 months ago by Gonzalo A. Vazquez-Casals
Concise, to the point. The author puts the main philosophical ideas in their historic context in order for you to understand a topic that would otherwise be difficult to digest. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gonzalo Merino