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  • The History of Philosophy

  • By: A. C. Grayling
  • Narrated by: Neil Gardner
  • Length: 28 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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The History of Philosophy

By: A. C. Grayling
Narrated by: Neil Gardner
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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The History of Philosophy written by A.C. Grayling, read by Neil Gardner.

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 reader from the world-views 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 readers, 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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

Grayling has written a masterful and often entertaining chronicle of the epic intellectual journey we humans have taken, in different periods, countries and cultures, to understand ourselves, our world, and how we ought to live. An extraordinary accomplishment that transcends the usual bounds of academic specialization (Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University)
Accurately offers itself as a successor to [Bertrand] Russell's classic survey . . . No other popular survey possesses this range . . . The History of Philosophy isn't just worth buying; it's worth scribbling in and dog-earing. For a work of scholarship, there can be no higher praise. (Michael Dirda)
He's more historically-minded than Russell, less dogmatic than Dawkins and less in thrall to the charms of his own fluency than Hitchens (Prospect on The Challenge of Things)

What listeners say about The History of Philosophy

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I have a better suggestion instead of this book.

This book was okay, not great. The issue was that it wasn't written in a way that is easy to understand by people that haven't encountered philosophical thought before.

Do yourself a favour and listen to 'The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps' podcast. It's free and does a much better job of explaining complex concepts.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    3 out of 5 stars

Very detailed

A lot of book is Bios of relevant people, and although enjoyable it isn't really helpful in explaining Philosophy.
Enjoyed the ancient and mediaeval sections, but 20th Century Philosophy is an interminable mire of smart people wasting their lives on irrelevant, impractical minutiae. "Apart from a couple of years of war service, person X spent their entire lives in Oxford doing Philosophy". What a waste.
And please, leave American accents to Americans, the narrator's attempts were just awful.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book let down by poor pronunciation

Grayling does a fantastic job covering the history of philosophy broadly and in enough detail to understand the key arguments from each of the featured thinkers and schools of thought. While the narrator has a pleasant voice, two things really let him down: (1) appalling pronunciation of French and German words (which come up often), (2) unnecessarily putting on an attempted American accent when quoting American philosophers.

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A great listen

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

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