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Publisher's Summary

The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining single-volume history of this great intellectual journey.   

With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the listener from the worldviews 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.  

Intelligible for students and eye-opening for philosophy listeners, 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 of enquiry, through the ideas of the celebrated philosophers as well as less well-known influential thinkers. 

He also asks what we have learnt from this body of thought and what progress is still to be made. The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy for decades, remarkable for its range and clarity, this is a landmark work.

©2019 A. C. Grayling (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about The History of Philosophy

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • avidreader
  • 11-01-20

Excellent content.. Audible should sort navigation

Audible need to add detailed chapter headings (chapter no.s only) otherwise you can’t navigate through the 28 hours of Grayling’s excellent content.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Samuel Marsden
  • 15-02-20

Chapters

I recently left a Review that showed my frustration with the fact that chapters were not labelled, this has now been updated and everything is perfect. The book is perfect for any beginners as well as people like me who are deep into certain areas of philosophy but lack a completed understanding. Yes, you might be a hardcore Deleuzian or Hegelian, but this book can essentially work as a very long podcast to fill in gaps you might have, it isn't a very complex book, so you can listen to it while doing some less mentally exhaustive activities and not get lost or have to go back. Given that it covers so many areas of philosophy I got more than enough out of it for my money listening about Stoic, Eastern, Medieval and more obscure philosophers that I hadn't heard of before or given any attention, listening therefore continually filled gaps in my knowledge of philosophy and also made me aware of new philosophers to explore after I'm done reading the Critique of Pure reason for the 3rd damn time.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 13-07-19

Instant classic

An instant classic. Big update and improvement upon Russell's. Interesting and relevant bio of each philosopher in the time line. A thoughtful history, well composed, it shows a great sense of balanced judgements, he's generous to those he doesn't agree with. If this was released anonymously I would have still loved this but I do admit I've been long time fan of A. C. Grayling, Towards the Light and Among Dead Cities have been influential on me over the last ten years since I read them.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Luca Nicotra
  • 27-01-20

The best survey on Western Philosophy on Audible

Excellent survey of the wester philosophical canon. The author has an excellent grasp of the matter and a gift for making it accessible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew Holmes
  • 10-10-19

A great introduction to philosophy

A great book. As a novice in philosophy, I found it very informative and digestible. It is a long book, but given the content, I guess it has to be.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 25-06-19

The Audible Audio Book needs some love

A book of this length needs some work when presented in Audip Book format. For example a list of titles rather than just chapter numbers. Also, the narrator doesn't seem to engage at all with the material, and is simply reading in a child-like manner. My advice would be to get Russell's HoWP first if you haven't got it already.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Chops
  • 22-11-20

Not my sort of philosophy.

This is the sort of philosophy which ties itself up in knots over subtle variations of the definition and meaning of words. Not for me. I prefer ideas to definitions.

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  • Horley, G
  • 04-09-20

A daunting task well executed

For a lay reader the scope and substance of this book is impressive. The book engenders the same feelings of awe as books on fundamental physics or cosmology.

Inevitably the subject has its own technical jargon and some concepts and lines of reasoning were difficult to follow. This should however not be taken as a criticism of the book.

I hope my own vocabulary will have been extended through listening to the work!

Philosophy I now realise regards itself as providing a superset for all realms of thought, even religious thought.

The book has provided me with a varied and substantial entree to the subject. While some of the fare presented was barely intelligible, generally I have been encouraged to seek to examine my own life further. If this is the mission of the writer, the the book is a success.

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  • Pierz Newton-John
  • 25-10-19

Lucid, balanced, thorough.

An excellent follow up read/listen to Russell's History of Western Philosophy, bringing the story up to date and covering eastern philosophy as well. My gripe is with the narration. Neil Gardner has a pleasant reading voice, but if you are going to narrate a history of philosophy, your should learn to pronounce the key names, terms and book titles roughly correctly. What's more, what is the exact point of quoting American philosophers in a sometimes embarrassingly bad American accent, while reading everything else in your own accent? It made me burst out laughing (in a bad way) when he first did it halfway through the book. Just read it straight and don't add the distraction of silly accents that do nothing for the listening experience. That said, still giving it 5 stars.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-09-20

A great listen

A great book for those who are interested in the development and pursuit of philosophical questions.