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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Hardcover 1961 printing. Very little wear is present on boards. Pages are crisp but yellowed at the edges. The binding is tight. Private collection. Pictured.
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The Story of Philosophy Hardcover – 1969

4.6 out of 5 stars 269 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (1969)
  • ASIN: B002MHP7W0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I did a search for ''The Story of Philosophy'' and only the Mass Market version of this book came up (ISBN 0-671-73916-6) which I ordered. The print was so unreadable due, at least to my copy, of a very heavy, black, flared type-setting. There was no chance of reading the book with any enjoyment....lo and behold I find a second book (ISBN 0-671-69500-2) which is excellently type-set, and very readable. Even though this second book format is twice the price of the cheaply done Mass Market format, it is eminently worth it. I make these comments, in order to save some poor soul from the hassle I went through to get a readable copy of this most excellent book.
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There is no pre-requisite to the enjoyment of philosophy, and there is no pre-requisite to the Story of Philosophy. Simply bring a mind that is famished for an injection of joy.

"That is very good; but there is an infinitely worthier subject for philosophers than all these trees and stones, and even all those stars; there is the mind of man. What is man, and what can he become?" (Durant summarizing Socrates)

Philosophy is the night that you looked up at those 100 billion stars and 100 billion galaxies and realized that you were beginning to ask the right questions. "To know what to ask is already to know half." (Durant summarizing Aristotle) Philosophy is the one great conversation in your past that echoes in every conversation since. When will that time come again? "All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare." (Durant summarizing Spinoza)

That phenomenon of wonder will return when you open the "Story of Philosophy". A further taste of Durant's warming liquor:

"Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art; it arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement."
"How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms."
"Political science does not make men, but must take them as they come from nature."
"The chief condition of happiness, barring certain physical prerequisites, is the life of reason--the specific glory and power of man."

Durant's approach is linear in time, but immense in breadth. Beginning with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, we are not only granted access to their treasure chests of wisdom, we are also given insights into the men.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I usually look down on philosophical "collections" because they tend to give an inadequate picture of any single philosopher and they also tend to lack cohesion. But this book is not just a collection - it is more like a narrative. The name "The STORY of Philosophy" indicates the focus, which is not just to present the work of various philosophers but to weave them together. Durant's choice of philosophers may seem to be unreasonable, but it serves his purpose. He presents a wide range of thought, from ancient Greek to modern. His analysis is always deep - his insights are fascinating. His understanding of the nuances of these thinkers is not in question. Each section presents Durant's analysis alongside material quoted directly from the philosopher being discussed. In this way both the original material and thoughtful analysis are given. In broader terms, Durant brings all this diverse thought together. He describes the progression of thought through careful comparison and contrast and gives each of these philosophers a position in reference to one another and to a unified picture. Each of these thinkers is put into a broader context than simply their own writings; parallels between these philosophers emerge alongside a portryal of their historical significance. All in all a real achievement and a worthwhile read for almost anyone (as an introduction to philosophy or as a valuable new perspective on material you're already familiar with). Recommended...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you believe that philosophy is about complex theorizing, and not your cup of tea - think again, in fact dont think - just read Will Durants book. The title says it all so wonderfully elegantly, that it makes one feel almost emotional about the book after it is over - this book is a story. It is a story of a science, of a subject, and the people who made it. It is a tale that will move you with the love Plato shows for Socrates, that will bring you to tears as you read the Excommunication Curse pronounced on the young Spinoza, and will make you shake your head with its force of ideas as it explains Descartes and Kant.
Once you are through with this book, and you lift your head again from its pages, the world will not seem the same. Few books can have so profound an effect on its reader - and this book does that. To the keen and curious, Durant lays bare about 2000 years of human thought, and puts in simple terms, some of the most baffling and complex of ideologies - and in doing so, the reader is left with a path to follow. The path of genius, the path of wisdom, and the path of enlightenment by reading the various books and philosophies of those mentioned here.
Read this book, own it, treasure it, and pass it on to your children, this is heritage... this is a work of art.
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