Philosophy Book Reviews : The Story of Philosophy , by Will Durant

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The Story of Philosophy , by Will
Durant

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Will Durant , The Story of Philosophy

(paperback, 543 pages, index, glossary of 60 philosophy terms)

          Durant covers Aristotle, James, Nietzsche, Russell, Bergson, Spencer, Locke, Plato, Croce, Bacon, Voltaire, Santayana, Spinoza, Kant, Dewey and Schopenhauer.

          I am recommending the less expensive edition published by Washington Square Press. In the event the cheaper ediiton goes out of stock, here's a link to the Simon & Schuster edition which costs about twice as much.

          Durant is a bit too thorough in his 100 page section on Plato and Aristotle, considering the fact that everything an author includes implies a reduction in space for something else. Durant also has a rather unorthodox system of priorities, e.g., he writes twenty pages on Santayana but not one paragraph on Marx. Nevertheless, every topic he covers is covered with clarity and insight, including the biographical information that lends clarity to the development of philosophers' ideas.

          Sometimes Durant gets carried away with the biographical details and provides a bit of trivia, but the reader will find that this always tells a fascinating story, if it doesn't provide additional insight to the philosphy. After all, the subtitle of the book is The lives and opinions of the world's greatest philosophers, from Plato to John Dewey.

          "So let us listen to these men, ready to forgive them their passing errors, and eager to learn the lessons which they are eager to teach."

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