- 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: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Classical Mind (A History of Western Philosophy) 2nd Edition
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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. The first chapter deals with a number of thinkers whose names are well-known to those who study the history of science as well as to philosophers -- Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras -- showing the interconnection of disciplines that recurs again and again throughout history, but never again so closely as in these opening days of Western thought.
Jones gives a general history lesson along with the history of the development of thought so that the reader will understand the social and historical context in which ideas developed. Plato and Aristotle both came out a context in which Greece was a fairly violent place much of the time, with warring factions and city-states variously dependent upon and warring against each other.
The discussion of Plato largely deals with his theories of knowledge and metaphysics, with an additional chapter on subsequent topics such as ethics, politics, religion and art. Similiarly, Aristotle is dealt with in two chapters, with the major topics of metaphysics, logic, ethics, politics, aesthetics, and other issues addressed. At the end of each of these sections, Jones gives a general critique of the philosopher's main ideas, and in the final chapter of the book, sets the stage for further developments, particularly in terms of the decline of the Golden Age in Greece. In some regards, all subsequent Western philosophy vacilates between Plato and Aristotle, so a thorough grounding is important.
Each volume ends with a glossary of terms, and a worthwhile index. The glossary warns against short, dictionary-style definitions and answers to broad terms and questions, and thus indicates the pages index-style to the discussion within the text for further context. The one wish I would have would be a comprehesive glossary and index that covers the several volumes; as it is, each volume has only its own referents.
This is minor criticism in a generally exceptional series. It is not easy text, but it is not needlessly difficult. The print size on the direct quotes, which are sometimes lengthy, can be a strain at times, but the reading is worthwhile.
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.
This series turned out to be perfect for starting a journey in philosophy or brushing up on your ancient Greek philosophy - where it all started. It is a pity that it does not include some Eastern thought schools that are very important to explore but I suppose it had to limit itself on some scale. It is easy to comprehend, laid out rather nicely and often enough refers to former chapters so you don't lose the thread. Not only does it give paragraphs of good translations of the original texts from Plato and Aristotele etc, but it also enriches these thoughts with its own neat and current examples.
I highly recommend it. It was a very pleasant read.