A C Grayling needs little introduction: he is a prolific writer, having written and edited over 30 books on philosophy and other subjects; he has been a columnist for the Guardian and The Times; and, he is currently Master of the New College of the Humanities in London. He is, in short, an exceptionally intelligent and celebrated thinker, but at all turns he is praised most highly for the clarity of his expression; he possesses an ability to make even the most complicated ideas understandable, and often highly entertaining.
Nowhere is this more true than in his new book, The History of Philosophy. The story of philosophy is an epic tale: it is an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since Bertrand Russell’s classic History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining history of this great intellectual journey.
With his characteristic clarity and elegance. A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius, and Socrates, through Christianity’s dominance of the European mind, to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too.
Accessible for students and eye-opening for philosophy readers, he covers epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates in these areas. Remarkable for its range and accessibility, this is a landmark work.
‘Grayling has written a masterful and often entertaining chronicle of the epic intellectual journey we humans have taken, in different periods, countries and cultures, to understand ourselves, our world, and how we ought to live. An extraordinary accomplishment that transcends the usual bounds of academic specialization’ — Peter Singer
‘Grayling writes with clarity, elegance and the occasional aphoristic twist’ – Daily Telegraph
‘Lucid, informative and admirably accessible’ – New Statesman