Histories of Philosophy

For the discussion of philosophical books.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
Aetixintro
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:44 pm
Contact:

Histories of Philosophy

Post by Aetixintro » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:18 pm

I'm listening to Stephen Fry, the comedian telling about his interest in philosophy and he's citing "A History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, implicitly, which stands at 895 pages that I find respectable. Link:
http://www.amazon.com/History-Western-P ... 292&sr=8-1

However, you may want to compare it with this major multi-volume work by Frederick Copleston. It's a stunning 11 volumes(?) and each volume has a good number of pages (250 - 600?). Check them out:
Vol. 1 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-1 - 544 pages
Vol. 2 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-2 - 624 pages
Vol. 3 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-5 - 496 pages
Vol. 4 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-3 - 384 pages
Vol. 5 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-6 - 440 pages
Vol. 6 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-7 - 528 pages
Vol. 7 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-4 - 512 pages
Vol. 8 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-9 - 592 pages
Vol. 9 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 277&sr=8-8 - 496 pages
Vol. 10 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 77&sr=8-12 - 464 pages
Vol. 11 - http://www.amazon.com/History-Philosoph ... 77&sr=8-14 - 240 pages (the shortest, anomaliously)

I don't say that you should buy it, I just say that you should know about it! And I hope you're happy about it!!!

Cheers! :)

chaz wyman
Posts: 5329
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by chaz wyman » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:55 pm

I am the proud owner of both Histories, and the new 4 volume history by Kenny.

They all have their good points and bad.
Russell tends to be a bit flippant from time to time, but that can be rather refreshing, though sometimes can take you by surprise.
Copelston is VERY comprehensive. But sometimes you just don't need all that detail. I thought I would be out off by the fact that he is a Jesuit, but he is totally up front about that and does not let God in to ruin his analysis.
Kenny has two parallel histories; a general look along side the philosophers, whereas the other two use named philosophers as their headings. In this sense Kenny scores over the others for an historical synthesis - if you are after his view.
Last edited by chaz wyman on Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Aetixintro
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Aetixintro » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:35 am

Thanks for your reference of Anthony Kenny, chaz wyman!

Just for the sake of orderliness:
The 4 volume work.
Vol. 1 - http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/s ... 0198752721
Vol. 2 - http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/s ... 0198752745
Vol. 3 - http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/s ... 0198752769
Vol. 4 - http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/s ... 0199546374
Comprehension: example, vol. 3 - 376 pages.

I think I would prefer Russell or Kenny if you don't have the special interest. 11 volumes can be a bit too much!

chaz wyman
Posts: 5329
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by chaz wyman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:46 am

I think I would prefer Russell or Kenny if you don't have the special interest. 11 volumes can be a bit too much![/quote]

I seem to collect Histories of Philosophy. I have also to recommend Harald Hoffding's 1955 2 volume offering which covers the early modern to the end of the 19thC. I would open him in preference to Russell any day.

User avatar
Aetixintro
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Aetixintro » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:50 pm

Thanks a lot again, chaz wyman! :)

davidchatman
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:41 am

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by davidchatman » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:52 am

There are 8 volume of the book A History of Philosophy by Frederick Copleston which will be good source.

chaz wyman
Posts: 5329
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by chaz wyman » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:11 am

davidchatman wrote:There are 8 volume of the book A History of Philosophy by Frederick Copleston which will be good source.
There are 11

Richard Baron
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:55 am
Contact:

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Richard Baron » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:41 pm

chaz wyman wrote:
davidchatman wrote:There are 8 volume of the book A History of Philosophy by Frederick Copleston which will be good source.
There are 11
This discrepancy is easily explained. There were originally eight, then three more were added (one on French philosophy, one on Russian philosophy, and a slim one on logical positivism and existentialism). Some libraries have only the original eight on their shelves.

chaz wyman
Posts: 5329
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by chaz wyman » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Richard Baron wrote:
chaz wyman wrote:
davidchatman wrote:There are 8 volume of the book A History of Philosophy by Frederick Copleston which will be good source.
There are 11
This discrepancy is easily explained. There were originally eight, then three more were added (one on French philosophy, one on Russian philosophy, and a slim one on logical positivism and existentialism). Some libraries have only the original eight on their shelves.
Indeed, and my volumes 9-11 are annoyingly in a different style on the shelf to the original eight.

User avatar
Rortabend
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:36 am
Location: Cambridge

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Rortabend » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:39 pm

Russell's history is annoyingly biased. The chapter on American pragmatism is far too short and gets everything wrong. His treatment of 20th century French philosophy is risible. To call it whiggish is something of an understatement. Having said this, he is a very good writer and I'd rather read Russell getting things wrong than a lot of other people getting things right!

chaz wyman
Posts: 5329
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by chaz wyman » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:00 pm

Rortabend wrote:Russell's history is annoyingly biased. The chapter on American pragmatism is far too short and gets everything wrong. His treatment of 20th century French philosophy is risible. To call it whiggish is something of an understatement. Having said this, he is a very good writer and I'd rather read Russell getting things wrong than a lot of other people getting things right!
All history is annoyingly bias when you don't agree with the historian.

American pragmatism is irrelevant.

French philosophy never took off until after WW2, as Russell wrote his History in 1945, you can hardly expect him to have predicted Derrida, Foucault, and Bourdieu, or the importance of Camus. I suppose being bias is an excuse for not having a time-machine.

Bias is what gives each person the ability to comment. Since you are so interested in French Phil, you might like to think about what Derrida would say on this matter.
To accuse a person of bias, as if that were a problem, is to try to impose your own subjective opinion as objective. Well, get this you are utterly biased.

From my own perspective, I found Russell's approach to Hegel insightful and completely honest. The most worthwhile and accurate analysis that any man is capable of making and still keep his credibility.

User avatar
Rortabend
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:36 am
Location: Cambridge

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Rortabend » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:25 am

chaz wyman wrote:
Rortabend wrote:Russell's history is annoyingly biased. The chapter on American pragmatism is far too short and gets everything wrong. His treatment of 20th century French philosophy is risible. To call it whiggish is something of an understatement. Having said this, he is a very good writer and I'd rather read Russell getting things wrong than a lot of other people getting things right!
All history is annoyingly bias when you don't agree with the historian.

American pragmatism is irrelevant.

French philosophy never took off until after WW2, as Russell wrote his History in 1945, you can hardly expect him to have predicted Derrida, Foucault, and Bourdieu, or the importance of Camus. I suppose being bias is an excuse for not having a time-machine.

Bias is what gives each person the ability to comment. Since you are so interested in French Phil, you might like to think about what Derrida would say on this matter.
To accuse a person of bias, as if that were a problem, is to try to impose your own subjective opinion as objective. Well, get this you are utterly biased.

From my own perspective, I found Russell's approach to Hegel insightful and completely honest. The most worthwhile and accurate analysis that any man is capable of making and still keep his credibility.
Bias is a continuous concept, not discrete. I agree that all histories are biased to a certain extent but my point is that I find Russell's history too skewed to his own interests. Given your comments and the general tone of them, I can see why you would be into Russell!

Chaz Wyman's History of Philosophy...

The Greeks - bit dull but nice food
Medievals - Irrelevant!
Kant - not as good as Hume
Hume - better than Kant
Everything else - Irrelevant!!!

Maybe you can send this off to a publisher. There seems to be demand for brief histories at the moment. With some hard work and a generous text design you might be able to puff it out to 10 pages.

chaz wyman
Posts: 5329
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by chaz wyman » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:13 am

Rortabend wrote:
chaz wyman wrote:
Rortabend wrote:Russell's history is annoyingly biased. The chapter on American pragmatism is far too short and gets everything wrong. His treatment of 20th century French philosophy is risible. To call it whiggish is something of an understatement. Having said this, he is a very good writer and I'd rather read Russell getting things wrong than a lot of other people getting things right!
All history is annoyingly bias when you don't agree with the historian.

American pragmatism is irrelevant.

French philosophy never took off until after WW2, as Russell wrote his History in 1945, you can hardly expect him to have predicted Derrida, Foucault, and Bourdieu, or the importance of Camus. I suppose being bias is an excuse for not having a time-machine.

Bias is what gives each person the ability to comment. Since you are so interested in French Phil, you might like to think about what Derrida would say on this matter.
To accuse a person of bias, as if that were a problem, is to try to impose your own subjective opinion as objective. Well, get this you are utterly biased.

From my own perspective, I found Russell's approach to Hegel insightful and completely honest. The most worthwhile and accurate analysis that any man is capable of making and still keep his credibility.
Bias is a continuous concept, not discrete.

How quaint and irrelevant of you to say so.


I agree that all histories are biased to a certain extent but my point is that I find Russell's history too skewed to his own interests. Given your comments and the general tone of them, I can see why you would be into Russell!

Can't you see the irony in your own words!!!
To Russell, his history is perfectly unbias, and has exactly the right amount of skew, designed with perfection to represent his supreme effort in taking the trouble to write it.
Maybe you should sell your fantasy to see if a sci-fi publisher would be interested?
You could call it...

Rory Bender's Fantasy Land.

Russell didn't have a time machine to write about French philosophy so he is a biased old fool.

User avatar
Rortabend
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:36 am
Location: Cambridge

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Rortabend » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:39 am

So French philosophy didn't begin until after after 1945? Brilliant.

Your brief history of philosophy is really beginning to take shape now. Next chapter - 'The Pre-Socratics and the Age of Disco: 1975-1981'.

Impenitent
Posts: 1816
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Histories of Philosophy

Post by Impenitent » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:54 am

Cogito ergo... oh never mind, it will not matter for over 300 years...

-Imp

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest