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The Classical Mind (A History of Western Philosophy) 2nd Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0155383128
ISBN-10: 0155383124
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About the Author

Robert J. Fogelin is Professor of Philosophy and Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities at Dartmouth College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World; 2nd edition (March 1, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0155383124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0155383128
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the reader looking for a summary of Western philosophy there are only two outstanding choices -- Bertrand Russell's one volume history and the five volume series by Jones. I prefer Jones' because of his clear writing, the integration of philosophy with the culture and political events of the era, and the outline style in which he presents his ideas. I used the first edition as an undergraduate philosophy major. I have enjoyed reading the second edition several decades later to wipe away the cobwebs of my memory and to reacquaint myself with the greatest thinkers of our culture. Highly recommended to philosophy students and to general readers.
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Format: Paperback
This book, 'The Classical Mind', is the first volume of a five-volume series on the history of Western Philosophy by W.T. Jones, professor of philosophy in California. This series is a very strong, thorough introduction to the course of Western Philosophy, beginning at the dawn of the philosophical enterprise with the pre-Socratics in ancient Greece to the modern thinkers such as Wittgenstein and Sartre. It has grown, over the three decades or so of its publication, from one to four then to five volumes. It has remained a popular text, and could serve as the basis of a one-year survey of philosophy for undergraduates or a one-semester survey for graduate students. Even advanced students in philosophy will find this valuable, all major topics and most minor topics in the course of philosophy are covered in these volumes.
Jones states that there are two possible ways for a writer to organise a history of philosophy -- either by addressing everyone who ever participated in philosophy (which could become rather cumbersome if one accepts the premise that anyone could be a philosopher), or to address the major topics and currents of thought, drawing in the key figures who address them, but leaving out the lesser thinkers for students to pursue on their own. Jones has chosen the latter tactic, making sure to provide bibliographic information for this task.
This volume, 'The Classical mind', starts and ends in ancient Greece. Plato and Aristotle are well featured, to be sure, but the pre-Socratics and the post-Aristotilean thinkers are also discussed in great detail.
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Format: Paperback
Agreed! This is by far the best general history of philosophy I know, making ample use of primary texts and thus providing much substance, but also bringing out main themes and establishing logical connections clearly for the reader. It was useful for me in college 20 years ago and is more useful now in rereading as I pursue my philosophy PhD.
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Format: Paperback
The history of ideas should be of interest to every person, but that is an ideal impossible to realize. But for the person who is reasonably interested in becoming acquainted with that history from someone who has told it in a comprehensive, critical, and clear manner, Dr. Jones is the best teller of that story I know of. Volume II of the first hardbound edition was an assigned text for a class I was taking at the University of California, Riverside. I immediately purchased the first volume because I found Dr. Jone's writing informative and clear. He uses original sources liberally, and his organization and elucidation of the topic at hand are superb.
I once had the privilege of meeting the author when my daughter was in his class at CAL-TECH (He was at Pomona College when I first became acquainted with his work.) He expressed an interest in talking with me further, and I was delighted with the idea of going back and purusing that conversation, but I let the opportunity slip away. At the time I had completed a master's in psychology and was pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology while serving as a clergyman in a parish and teaching two classes in psychology in a community college. I regret not being able to squeeze out the time to folow up on his invitation.
I have seen no other discussion of the history of Western Philosophy so worthwhile owning and reading.
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Format: Paperback
This book offers an excellent summery of the basic teachings, understandings, and doctrines from Thales of the pre-socratics to the late Classical period in Rome (Epicurus, Cicero, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, ect). The History of Western Philosphy Series is an excellent addition to the mind and bookshelf of all scholars who maintain interest in the evolution of the human mind. This specific book goes well hand in hand with F. M. Cornfield's "From Religion to Philosophy (A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation)."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the course of writing my licentiate thesis, it was proven (to my great embarrassment) that I knew less about the history of philosophy than I should have known. Thus, I took it upon myself to read two great histories of philosophy "side-by-side" as it were--the series written by Fr. Copleston and this wonderful series. I would recommend this path to anyone who wanted to study philosophy seriously, for Jones makes up for Copleston's weaknesses, and vice-versa. This volume covers the history of classical philosophy from Thales of Miletus to late Scepticism. Its content corresponds (roughly) to pp. 13-445 of Copleston's first volume, "Greece and Rome".

As I want to end on a good note, I will first state why I did not award this volume five stars. The first reason is the price--do not make my mistake and buy this book new! If you're visiting this page and wondering whether you should buy this book, the answer is a resounding YES, but buy it used! It has all the hallmarks of a college textbook (overpriced, poor binding, and an easily-destroyed cover; the slightest scratch reveals itself like it would on the silver backing of an iPod). Second, Jones occasionally interjects his understanding of Christianity and opposes it to the philosopher he covers (such interjections are rare, but are meant to make an impression). Jones would have done better to preface his remarks on Christianity with the words, "As I understand Christianity...." His hyper-individualist interpretation of Christian salvation is not shared by all Christians (particularly those of the Catholic confession, such as myself).

Now, on to the good! One of the strengths of Jones's work is the amount of source-material he provides.
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