An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny

By Anthony Kenny

This illustrated version of Sir Anthony Kenny’s acclaimed survey of Western philosophy bargains the main concise and compelling tale of the total improvement of philosophy available.

Spanning 2,500 years of concept, An Illustrated short background of Western Philosophy offers crucial assurance of the main influential philosophers of the Western international, between them Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein.

Replete with over 60 illustrations - starting from Dufresnoy’s The dying of Socrates, via to the name web page of Thomas More’s Utopia, snap shots of Hobbes and Rousseau, pictures of Charles Darwin and Bertrand Russell, Freud’s personal caricature of the Ego and the identification, and Wittgenstein’s Austrian army id card - this lucid and masterful paintings is perfect for somebody with an curiosity in Western idea.

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Sample text

The Euthyphro After the trial portrayed in the Apology, there was a delay before sentence of death was carried out. A sacred ship had set out on its annual ceremonial voyage to the island of Delos, and until it returned to Athens the taking of human life was taboo. Plato has represented these days between condemnation and execution in a pair of unforgettable dialogues, the Crito and the Phaedo. No one knows how much in these dialogues is history, and how much invention; but the picture which they paint has fired the imagination of many who lived centuries and millennia after Socrates’ death.

For Democritus, atoms and void are the only two realities: all else was appearance. When atoms approach or collide or entangle with each other, the aggregates appear as water or fire or plants or humans, but all that really exists are the underlying atoms in the void. In particular, the qualities perceived by the senses are mere appearances. Democritus’ most often quoted dictum was: By convention sweet and by convention bitter; by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention colour: in reality atoms and void.

Many a political reformer, too, has echoed his sentiment that it is better to be poor in a democracy than prosperous in a dictatorship. The sayings which have been preserved do not add up to a systematic morality, and they do not seem to have any connection with the atomic theory which underlies his philosophy. However, some of his dicta, brief and banal as they may appear, are sufficient, if true, to overturn whole systems of moral philosophy. For instance, The good person not only refrains from wrongdoing but does not even desire it.

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