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A Short History of Philosophy

Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins

Publication Date - February 1996

ISBN: 9780195101966

352 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $69.99


In this accessible and comprehensive work, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins cover the entire history of philosophy--ancient, medieval, and modern, from cultures both East and West--in its broader historical and cultural contexts. Major philosophers and movements are discussed along with less well-known but interesting figures. The authors examine the early Greek, Indic, and Chinese philosophers and the mythological traditions that preceded them, as well as the great religious philosophies, including Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Taoism. Easily understandable to students without specialized knowledge of philosophy, A Short History of Philosophy demonstrates the relevance of philosophy to our times, illuminating the impact of the revolutions wrought by science, industry, colonialism, and sectarian warfare; the two world wars and the Holocaust; and the responses of philosophy in the schools of existentialism, postmodernism, feminism, and multiculturalism. In addition, the authors provide their own twists and interpretations of events, resulting in a broad view of the nature of philosophy as an intellectual discipline and its sometimes odd and dramatic consequences.


"An audacious, incisive, and engaging history that breaks new ground in conveying so succinctly the extraordinary scope and depth of philosophical inquiries throughout the world. In so doing, it offers a welcome antidote to the many efforts to routinize, isolate, and constrict the study of philosophy or to dismiss it as outdated or irrelevant. Never dull, this volume will challenge, surprise, sometimes provoke readers and, throughout, invite them to argue, to try out new perspectives, to go back to the original sources, and thus to become more active participants in perennial philosophical debates that remain as indispensable as ever."--Dr. Sissela Bok, Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, author of Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life and Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation

Table of Contents

    Biographical Chronology
    I. The Search for World Order: Ancient Philosophy
    The "Axial Period" and the Origins of Philosophy
    The "Miracle" of Greece
    Philosophy, Myth, Religion, and Science
    Meaning and Creation: Cosmogony and the Origins of Philosophy
    Vedas and Vedanta: Early Philosophy in India
    The First (Greek) Philosopher
    The Pre-Socratic Philosophers (I): The Stuff of the World
    The Pre-Socratic Philosophers (II): The Underlying Order
    The Pre-Socratic Philosophers (III): The Pluralists
    Enter the Sophists
    Plato: Metaphysician or Sublime Humorist?
    The Philosopher's Philosopher: Aristotle
    A Footnote to Plato (and Aristotle)
    Tough Times: Stoicism, Skepticism, and Epicureanism
    Mysticism and Logic in Ancient India: Nagarjuna and Nyaya
    II. God and the Philosophers: Religious and Medieval Philosophy
    Religion and Spirituality: Three Philosophical Themes
    The Wisdom of the East (I): Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism
    The Wisdom of the East (II): Confucius and Confucianism
    The Wisdom of the East (III): Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu, and Taoism
    Deep in the Heart of Persia: Zoroastrianism
    From Athens to Jerusalem: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
    The Hebrew People and the Origins of Judaism
    Greek Jew: Philo of Alexandria
    The Birth of Christianity
    The Opening of Christianity: St. Paul
    Neoplatonism and Christianity
    St. Augustine and the Inner Life of Spirit
    The First Great Split Within Christianity
    The Rise of Islam
    Persia and the Peripatetic Tradition
    Diaspora, Dialectic, and Mysticism in Judaism
    Thinking God: Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, and Scholasticism
    Late Scholasticism: Duns Scotus and William of Ockham
    In Search of Essences: The Alchemists
    Philosophical Syntheses Outside the West
    The Reformation: Luther and His Progeny
    The Counter-Reformation, Erasmus, and More
    After Aristotle: Bacon, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and the Renaissance
    Before the "Discovery": Africa and the Americas
    III. Between Science and Religion: Modern Philosophy and the Enlightenment
    Science, Religion, and the Meaning of Modernism
    Montaigne: The First Modern Philosopher?
    Descartes and the New Science
    Spinoza, Leibniz, Pascal, and Newton
    The Enlightenment, Colonialism, and the Eclipse of the Orient
    Locke, Hume, and Empiricism
    Adam Smith, the Moral Sentiments, and the Protestant Ethic
    Voltaire, Rousseau, and Revolution
    Immanuel Kant: Saving Science
    Kant's Moral Philosophy and the Third Critique
    The Discovery of History: Hegel
    Philosophy and Poetry: Rationalism and Romanticism
    Romantic West Meets East: Schopenhauer
    After Hegel: Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, and Marx
    Mill, Darwin, and Nietzsche: Consumerism, Energy, and Evolution
    Early Philosophy in America
    IV. From Modernism to Postmodernism: The Twentieth Century
    The Rejection of Idealism: A Century of Horrors
    Frege, Russell, and Husserl: Arithmetic, Atomism, Phenomenology
    Zarathustra in the Trenches: The Limits of Rationality
    The American Experience in Philosophy: Pragmatism
    Changing Reality: Philosophies of Process
    Unamuno, Croce, and Heidegger: The Tragic Sense of Life
    Hitler, the Holocaust, Positivism, and Existentialism
    No Exit: The Existentialism of Camus, Sarte, and Beauvoir
    From Ideal to Ordinary Language: From Cambridge to Oxford
    Women and Gender: The Feminization of Philosophy
    The Return of the Oppressed: Africa, Asia, and the Americas
    From Postmodernism to the New Age
    World Philosophy: Promise or Pretense
    Selected Bibliography