History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics)

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History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics)

History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics)

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Russell shows how philosophy has evolved from a focus on things to a focus on process, bringing it in alignment with quantum physics. It is also interesting, by the way, how he comments on the political situation of the time this text has been written (about 1943).

Because of the partisan nature of its views, and the quick, witty style of their presentation, it has never been a staple as an academic textbook. It was written during the Second World War and I think this shows in part, particularly when Russell is discussing the merits of some philosophers – not least Nietzsche and Marx.If that is the case for you, I strongly suggest that you first read another history of philosophy, and then compliment that by this book. In his view, Russell was at his best when dealing with contemporary philosophy, and that in contrast "his treatment of ancient and medieval doctrines is nearly worthless. It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. The book is structured into three parts (Ancient Philosophy - Catholic Philosophy - Modern Philosophy) with its philosophy going right back to before Socrates, through the Middle Ages and into the twentieth-century. In this, Rousseau is the predecessor of Nietzsche, who raised the notion of 'Will to Power' to unsurpassed heights.

Nietzsche created an imaginary Ubermensch as wishful thinking; Hitler tried to copy the idea and killed millions of peoples.

At the time, one had to be able to reason both for and against any position, all the way - of course - adhering to Church doctrines. Even as a first-time read this is an outstanding overview of the way great thinkers have influenced the way we think today and the still unresolved issues that, if we are serious thinkers ourselves, we still seek to resolve.

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