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One Hundred Philosophers: The Life and Work of the World's Greatest Thinkers Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

[back cover copy]

As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” How better to begin a life’s examination than with the most influential philosophers from Ancient Greece and China to the present day.

Many questions that philosophers have asked down the centuries continue to hold sway today, and are reflected in the great debates of our time. What is the nature of good and evil? What is the meaning of existence, and who are we really? For thousands of years philosophers have struggled with questions such as these, weighing every thought against virtually every rational alternative. Who were the men and women whom we call the great philosophers? This fascinating book examines the lives and thoughts of 100 philosophers who have changed the way we view the world.

Discover the true stories of the world’s greatest thinkers and philosophers, from both East and West. Presented chronologically by year of birth, 100 philosophers are profiled with sketches of their personal life, a summary of the development of their thought, and some of the conclusions they reached.

Peter J. King (D.Phil. Oxford) is Lecturer in Philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford, and has taught philosophy at the University of Reading, the University of North London, and Birkbeck and King’s Colleges, London. He has published academic papers in the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophical logic, as well as more popular articles on political philosophy and parapsychology. He’s currently working on an introduction to the philosophy of religion. He is a member of the Humanist Philosophers’ Group.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764127918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764127915
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,870,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on January 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
One Hundred Philosophers: The Life And Work Of The World's Greatest Thinkers

By Peter J. King

Quarto/Barron's Educational Series



ISBN # 0-7641-2791-8

Large Paperback

$19.95 US

$28.95 Canada

This strong basic reference type text opens with a brief introduction that explains how the author sees the realm of Philosophy, the main divisions in Philosophy, and what he is attempting to cover in this book, which spans ancient times to the 20th century. Of course, there are limitations as to what could be covered and the author makes his case as to why certain persons made the cut and others did not.

What follows are the various sections detailing periods in time starting with the Ancient World 700 B. C. E. -400 B.C.E. A timeline complete with illustrations and pictures as well as dates is given for the relevant points in history within and without the realm of Philosophy. Then, in page summary format, each Philosopher is listed, with a date of life, main interests, influences, influenced, and an explanation of what is known about the Philosopher, the thinking of the Philosopher and the role of the Philosopher at that time.

This same formula continues through out the nearly 200-page book. The 100th Philosopher, Peter Singer, is covered at the end of the twentieth century section followed by a comprehensive and detailed two-page section suggesting other reading. This section leads into a glossary of terms used in the book, which is followed by an index.

This book obviously can't cover everyone to great depth and doesn't try to do so.
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Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Well, I can't pretend that I understood it. I didn't understand "Sophie's World" either. I prefer the format of this lay textbook over the device of the bizarre story of Sophie's World as a structure for didacticism though I admit the bizarre stuff was there to illustrate the philosophical points. I read "One Hundred Philosophers" quickly to see what was available in it but would need to study it with additional texts to go in- depth and attempt to understand the actual philosophy.

I bought the book because it links together disjointed pieces of information. I think it's a good starting point and I intend to use it as a reference book rather than having to go on the net to find the same information.

It's amazing that I'm encountering beliefs out there that I've been reading about in the book and can easily refer to for discussions. There's some surprising individuals in the book to read about, real eye-openers. There are also patterns of biography depending on the era cited e.g. starting out as a theological scholar and getting side-tracked into philosophy.

Some of the woman philosphers' lives make sad reading, early deaths and in one case matyrdom. In contrast, some of the men lived to great ages.

As well though, I saw a pattern of philosophers being repeatedly exiled, tortured, imprisoned and executed for their beliefs though this isn't happening with the latest Continental and Anglo-American ones featured! I found this book so worthwhile I felt inspired to buy one for my 14 year old neice as a great introduction to the valuable and deep subject of philosophy.

Funnily enough, I bought it as one of a selection of books available in the tea-room at work among the usual recipe and typical prosaic lifestyle selection. It was a great buy for $NZ12 (New Zealand).
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I bought this book after taking an introductory philosophy course in college. I had a deep interest in the subject, but not a very strong background. If you are like me, then this book will be a great starting point for you. Do not expect to find any great analysis of any philosophical theories, or even any opinions on the theories of the various philosophers. In fact, some of the philosophers are covered very briefly, and we are given only the most basic information about them (where they were born, where they studied, what kind of family they came from, where they died, etc.). However, having said that, this book WILL provide you with the basic knowledge of the most influential philosophers so that you may embark on your greater journey into the world of philosophy. It clearly deliniates the beginning of philosophical thought and it's transition to modern philosophy and as most reviewers have stated, it is very well structured and organized. Every major philosopher that you have ever read about/heard of is in this book. I strongly encourage any and all readers interested in a philosophy background to purchase this book!
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The subtitle of this book bills itself as "the world's greatest thinkers."

Really? No mention of Schopenhauer? Habermas? Foucault (there's even a picture of him on the front cover!)? Derrida? Gadamer? Schelling? Whitehead? Instead of these, we get several completely unknown people included which seems inappropriate.

The influences on Nietzsche are listed as Machiavelli and Schopenhauer. Really? Not Wagner? Emerson? Goethe? Heine?

In point of fact, Nietzsche's entire "Gay Science" was inspired by Emerson. Wagner was the only genius that Nietzsche knew personally, and whose name features in the titles of two of Nietzsche's books, 'Nietzsche contra Wagner' and 'The Case of Wagner'. Goethe was Nietzsche's model for the ubermensch/overman. Nietzsche took the doctrine of the eternal recurrence from Heine. But I guess that they don't teach you this stuff at Oxford.

And I challenge this author to tell me what Machiavelli's influence on Nietzsche consisted of -- it's certainly never explained in the book. Certainly it is less significant that that of the authors that I mentioned.

This book is inaccurate, incomplete, and in many cases, just plain wrong.
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