We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help


Ancient Philosophy

A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume I

Anthony Kenny

Publication Date - 08 January 2007

ISBN: 9780198752721

368 pages

In Stock


Sir Anthony Kenny here tells the fascinating story of the birth of philosophy and its remarkable flourishing in the ancient Mediterranean world. This is the initial volume of a four-book set in which Kenny will unfold a magisterial new history of Western philosophy, the first major single-author history of philosophy to appear in decades.
Ancient Philosophy spans over a thousand years and brings to life the great minds of the past, from Thales, Pythagoras, and Parmenides, to Socrates, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Augustine. The book's great virtue is that it is written by one of the world's leading authorities on the subject. Instead of an uncritical, straightforward recitation of known facts--Plato and his cave of shadows, Aristotle's ethics, Augustine's City of God--we see the major philosophers through the eyes of a man who has spent a lifetime contemplating their work. Thus we do not simply get an overview of Aristotle, for example, but a penetrating and insightful critique of his thought. Kenny offers an illuminating account of the various schools of thought, from the Pre-Socratics to the Epicureans. He examines the development of logic and reason, ancient ideas about physics ("how things happen"), metaphysics and ethics, and the earliest thinking about the soul and god.
Vividly written, but serious and deep enough to offer a genuine understanding of the great philosophers, Kenny's lucid and stimulating history will become the definitive work for anyone interested in the people and ideas that shaped the course of Western thought.

About the Author(s)

Sir Anthony Kenny is one of Britain's most distinguished academic figures. He has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Master of Balliol College, Chairman of the Board of the British Library, and President of the British Academy. He has published more than forty books on philosophy and history.


"This genial and highly accessible book...presents and analyses with exemplary clarity the most important ideas and arguments ancient philosophers contributed to the main fields of philosophical inquiry.... The range, beauty, and often the unexpectedness of the illustrations are one of the triumphs of the volume." --Malcolm Schofield, London Review of Books

Table of Contents

    1. Beginnings: From Pythagoras to Plato
    2. Schools of Thought: From Aristotle to Augustine
    3. Argument and Reason: Logic
    4. Knowledge and its Limits
    5. How Things Happen: Physics
    6. What There Is: Metaphysics
    7. Soul and Mind
    8. How to Live: Ethics
    9. God