0
   

Bertrand Russell's History Of Western Philosophy

 
 
Reply Fri 22 May, 2009 12:06 pm
History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
ISBN 978-0-415-32505-9
http://www.mobipocket.com/eBooks/cover_remote/ID113/20008d78v04Mobi300x400.jpg
Overview:
First Published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy became the best selling Philosophy book of the 20th century, providing a sophisticated overview over a wide range of idea's, while relating the idea's to the cultural and economic trend's of the time.

Pros :
- A good and readable introduction to many idea's in Western Philosophy
- Russell's wit and humor show through, which is a rarity in Philosophy book's
- Chapter's on Culutural and Historical events of the period's involved is informative and add's to understanding of the Philosophy.
- A good lengthy read.
- Russell is certainly a knowlegdable source of information
Cons :
- Russell's own personal views often slip into his writting's and opinon's of Philosopher's and have heard him be accused of misrepresenting particular philosopher's
- Some may not be interested in the lengthy historical and cultural sections
- Chapter's and Chapter size seem based on Russell's particular view of the Philosopher

Summary's of over reviews :
- Remains to this day the most lucid introduction to European Political Thought- The Times

- A survey of Western Philosophy in relation to its environment, of such sweep and acuteness, alive in every nerve... a masterpiece of intellectual energy.... the Socrates of our time. - A.L. Rowse

- This work possesses outstanding merits; it is throughout written in beautiful and luminous prose of which Russell is a great master- Isaiah Berlin

Overview :
- A good introduction into western Philosophy, without rival to this day, though some may disagree with Russell in certain area's

Rating : 9/10
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 8,886 • Replies: 41
No top replies

 
Victor Eremita
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 04:17 pm
@RDanneskjld,
Without rival?! Give me Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy any day.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:09 pm
@RDanneskjld,
I agree with Victor on this one. I much prefer Copleston's series better.
0 Replies
 
Bonaventurian
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jun, 2009 05:09 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita;65151 wrote:
Without rival?! Give me Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy any day.


I agree. That's the one I have.
0 Replies
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 10:11 am
@RDanneskjld,
As I remember, there was a saying that no philosopher ever really understands another. Copleston's explanation generally follows the accepted interpretations of each philosophy and are based always on references to the texts.
Russell does not hide behind objectivity, but nevertheless provides insight into philosophy itself in addition to the various important philosophers. Careful reading will indicate whether it is Russell himself speaking or the philosopher under scrutiny.
Each has a great deal to be said for it.
Cheers,
John
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 05:49 pm
@RDanneskjld,
I own it and like it a lot, though Russell can be pretty opinionated. He does injustice to Nietzsche.
greenpapaya
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 02:11 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;70440 wrote:
I own it and like it a lot, though Russell can be pretty opinionated. He does injustice to Nietzsche.


I agree. The section about Nietzsche was terribly lacking.

Plus Kierkegaard is nowhere to be found. Sad
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 11:13 pm
@RDanneskjld,
Nobody can help injecting something of themselves into their work.

However I rather like Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy. He is perhaps a little more poetic in his interpretations than Russell but he also captures more of the 'soul' of the subject and, I think, more of the personality of those whom he covers. (Also from what I have read of them, Copleston's volumes are probably better than Russell's although I still think his History is one of the great books.)
Paracelsus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 03:56 am
@jeeprs,
Pedagogic. Turgid. An insight into philosophy for the beginner, but god its hard work to wade through. A better example of a concise overview of Western Philosophy IMHO is The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 04:49 am
@Paracelsus,
Paracelsus;87066 wrote:
Pedagogic. Turgid. An insight into philosophy for the beginner, but god its hard work to wade through. A better example of a concise overview of Western Philosophy IMHO is The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas.


I agree that it is an excellent book but its aims are rather different to a general history of philosophy....nevertheless Tarnas is much more interesting in my view, but then he is counter-cultural (as am I).
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:58 pm
@RDanneskjld,
The way he treats Nietzsche in this book is ridiculous. Talk about refusal to engage. He dwells on what he doesn't like, and mocks it. Thanks, Bert. Next time try harder.
topnotcht121
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 07:18 pm
@RDanneskjld,
I've wanted to read it, but was intimidated by its length.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 09:27 pm
@RDanneskjld,
It is a handy reference, though. It reads well as a series of essays, not all of which are of the same quality, but nearly all of which are still very good. Also his 'historical overviews' are very good for setting the scene for particular periods in history. In other words, you can read bits of it, and it is still valuable.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 10:01 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;129252 wrote:
The way he treats Nietzsche in this book is ridiculous. Talk about refusal to engage. He dwells on what he doesn't like, and mocks it. Thanks, Bert. Next time try harder.


Might be that he cannot avoid it because Nietzsche is ridiculous.
0 Replies
 
StochasticBeauty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2010 08:47 pm
@RDanneskjld,
What I like about Bertrand's H.W.P. is he gives a really good impressions of the the philosophers as people and more importantly captures the transitions in thinking. Gives great depictions of Schopenhauer.

I know the UC system here in California uses it for its intro philosophy classes. It's great; I would recommend getting the audio.

I do side with Reconstructo about Nietszche; reading the chapter on Nietszche is simply not enjoyable especially considering Nietszche is so empowering and charismatic to read. What I have enjoyed the most (and I have read all of his work) has to be his 'Essays on Skepticism' and all his essays on morals are wonderful. The most cathartic work that I would certainly recommend to anyone is 'The Conquest of Happiness'.

What I appreciate most about Russells work has got to be his logical insightfulness - this most likely comes from his background in mathematical epistemology.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2010 04:24 am
@RDanneskjld,
I don't like Russell's views on spirituality that much, but there was no better popular writer on philosophy in the 20th century, with the exception of Will Durant anyway, and besides, he got arrested at age 70 or something for demonstrating against nuclear weapons, and for that he wins my eternal fealty.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2010 09:06 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;150503 wrote:
I don't like Russell's views on spirituality that much, but there was no better popular writer on philosophy in the 20th century, with the exception of Will Durant anyway, and besides, he got arrested at age 70 or something for demonstrating against nuclear weapons, and for that he wins my eternal fealty.


On the other hand, before the Soviets developed the bomb, but we knew they were trying to do so, Russell volubly advocated attacking the Soviet Union with our bombs in order to prevent them from getting the bomb. When he was later taxed with the apparent inconsistency he simply replied as did Keynes on another occasion, "When the facts change, I change my mind, What do you do, sir?".
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 12:03 am
@kennethamy,
[CENTER]:bigsmile:
May be the title should have been 'Russell's View of Philosophy'.

I like the book because it is a good introduction to philosophy, but there are certainly more objective books available.:detective:
[/CENTER]
0 Replies
 
StochasticBeauty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 12:49 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;150535 wrote:
On the other hand, before the Soviets developed the bomb, but we knew they were trying to do so, Russell volubly advocated attacking the Soviet Union with our bombs in order to prevent them from getting the bomb. When he was later taxed with the apparent inconsistency he simply replied as did Keynes on another occasion, "When the facts change, I change my mind, What do you do, sir?".


Interesting relating Keynes to Russell in such a way - In game theory it's called bounded rationality; that is, one is only able to make decisions based on the information available to him.

You may already know Russell got 7 day jail term for campaigning *against* nuclear weapons. I guess it goes to show that even the most scrupulous can succumb to inhumanity.

about Russell's claim:
"He believed that Soviet expansion would continue unless halted by the threat or use of force. In a letter dated 1 September 1945 he asserted: 'I think Stalin has inherited Hitler's ambition to world dictatorship.' Hence, when the first nuclear weapons were exploded by the US over Japan, he immediately resurrected his view that America should impose peace and disarmament on the world, using the new weapons to coerce a recalcitrant Russia."
When Bertrand Russell advocated preventive atomic war
0 Replies
 
jack phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 12:16 pm
@RDanneskjld,
I havn't ever looked at this book, but, from what I have seen by Russell, he spends far too many pages defining words and whatnot.

I guess that is what he is famous for: definitions.
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Bertrand Russell's History Of Western Philosophy
Copyright © 2018 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/14/2018 at 06:03:26