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A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy

By SOLOMON

Item #9780195112085

74
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Kathleen Higgins is Professor in the Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts.
View author's profile here.

Without simplifying their subject, editors Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins tell the story of philosophy's development with great clarity and refreshing wit. The brevity of their study, in fact, allows readers to see more clearly the connections and divergences between philosophers, as well as the way ideas change, reappear, and evolve over time. The authors begin with the most ancient religious beliefs and bring us right up to the feminist and multicultural philosophies of the present. Along the way, major philosophers are highlighted, from Plato and Aquinas to William James and Simone deBeauvoir, and major categories explored, from metaphysics and ethics to politics and logic. We also see the evolution of enduring ideas--how, for example, the value of subjective experience is treated in Augustine, Luther, Descartes, and Kirkegaard, how the idea of dynamic change appears in the work of Heraclitus, Darwin, Hegel, and Nietzsche, and how the recurring dichotomies between faith and reason, belief and skepticism, mysticism and empiricism occupy philosophers from one generation to the next. The authors make clear the many ways philosophers have argued with, borrowed from, and built on each other's ideas throughout the ages. We see Francis Bacon rejecting Aristotelian dogma, the impact of Buddhism on Schopenhauer, and the influence of Hume and Rousseau on the monumental philosophy of Imanuel Kant. The book is enlivened as well by telling anecdotes and sparkling quotations. We're treated to Thomas Hobbes' assessment--"Life is nasty, brutish, and short," Hegel's description of Napoleon as "world history on horseback," Schopenhauer's assertion that Art allows us a "Sabbath from the penal servitude of willing," and many other memorabl

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