Twelve Great Thinkers and the Search for Wisdom, from Socrates to Nietzsche
Starting with Socrates who, with his injunction to ‘know thyself’, provided a model of the philosophical life, and ending with Nietzsche, James Miller provides brief biographies of twelve philosophers. The selection includes both canonical figures such as Augustine, Descartes and Kant, and less obvious thinkers including Diogenes, Montaigne and Emerson, but every one of them has ‘struggled to live his life according to a deliberately chosen set of precepts and beliefs’. Previously in Postscript as The Philosophical Life.
A Beginner's Guide
Existentialism was expressed through novels, plays and films as well as purely philosophical writings and this introductory study explores its central ideas – freedom, anxiety, the Absurd and authenticity – through the works of writers including Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Fanon.
A Beginner's Guide
William J Prior introduces ancient philosophy, from the Pre-Socratics to Marcus Aurelius, through discussion of the main issues raised by Socrates, but debated before and after him: the good life, knowledge and reality, the soul, and God and the cosmos. Off-mint.
A Beginner's Guide
Beginning with the basic principles of logic inherited from Plato and Aristotle, and focusing on Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, this introduction examines the problems that concerned the medieval philosophers: evil, eternity, universals, ethics and the existence of God.
A Beginner's Guide
René Descartes (1596–1650) was a leader of the 17th-century intellectual revolution in science and philosophy, famous above all for his rationalism and the Cogito: ‘I think, therefore I am’. Bracken’s guide provides historical background, formulates the core of Descartes’ philosophical ideas and discusses his legacy.
50 Ideas in 500 Words
Offering ‘a sense of what philosophy is about and an insight into the ideas which engage philosophical minds’, Jeremy Stangroom introduces 50 thinkers – including political, social and psychological theorists as well as philosophers – with succinct summaries of one or more essential arguments in their work.
Daniel E Flage argues for the value of revisiting the works of Bishop Berkeley (1685–1753) and presents a concise introduction to the philosophy of the great British Empiricist. The study provides careful readings and interpretations of Berkeley’s writings, examining his discussions of vision, his arguments for idealism, his moral philosophy, and his economic theory.
How the World Works
In the Apology Plato quotes Socrates as saying, at his trial for impiety, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’. For those new to philosophy, this very accessible, illustrated survey of the development and various strands of Western thought offers a guide to starting that philosophical examination of life, tackling the big questions, including Is there a God? What can we know? and How should we live?
100 Clever Ways to Help you Understand and Remember the Most Important Theories
Each volume in this series uses a three-part approach to explain complex ideas. First the ‘helicopter overview’ introduces the concept, then the ‘shortcut’ gives more detail on core elements and the pithy ‘hack’ offers a memorable summary. These straightforward explanations present philosophical theories and arguments ranging from ancient religious ideas, through the work of such seminal figures as Avicenna and Descartes, to modern thought experiments including the Trolley Problem and Wittgenstein’s beetle.
I Think, Therefore I Draw
Understanding Philosophy Through Cartoons
The best cartoonists’ simple drawings and witty captions often engage with profound questions, as two philosophers demonstrate here. In succinct and entertaining discussions they analyse over 60 examples of cartoons that respond to issues such as identity, existentialism, the cosmological argument for the existence of God and ethical intuition.
I Think, Therefore I Am
All the Philosophy You Need to Know
Dealing with individual thinkers, from the Pre-Socratics and ‘the Greek heavyweights’ to modern philosophers such as Wittgenstein and Derrida, this book from the I Used to Know That series explains the development of philosophical ideas over 2,500 years. There’s a Final Philosophy Paper at the end – but no answers.
Though often wrongly confused with hedonism, the Epicurean ideal of achieving true happiness was in reality an austere, utilitarian philosophy of kindness, equality and moderation of appetites. This edition of Epicurus’ surviving works, as recorded by Diogenes Laertius, includes introductory chapters from Robert Drew Hicks’s Stoics and Epicureans (1910).
Written in 1888, shortly before Nietzsche succumbed to mental illness, Ecce Homo (originally entitled Why I Am So Wise) is his last book, an intellectual autobiography tracing the development of his philosophy and explaining its concept of ‘free will’ and ‘free spirit’. Translated, with an introduction, by Gerta Valentine.
How Religion Deprives Us of Happiness
In this appeal for us to reject religion’s ‘chimeras’, the businessman and philanthropist Vitaly Malkin argues that the adoption of monotheistic doctrines slowed down the progress of human civilization and has failed to make people happier. Examining the big questions of evil, death, suffering and ‘the great battle against pleasure’, he encourages the reader to question what benefit religious practices offer and to live in the present rather than wait for life after death. Slightly off-mint.
The 488 personal jottings that form Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations have significantly influenced Western thought but lack clear order and sequence. Stedall’s dialogues make these Stoic ideas more accessible, as the Roman Emperor converses with historical figures including the Greek doctor Galen and Egyptian priest Harnouphis. Slightly off-mint.
The Myth of Sisyphus
‘It is legitimate and necessary to wonder whether life has a meaning; therefore it is legitimate to meet the problem of suicide face to face’: this is how Camus, in his preface, describes the subject of this profound philosophical statement. The Myth is accompanied by five short essays, including ‘Summer in Algiers’, evoking the city in which Camus’ novel The Outsider is set.
Philosopher of Christianity
The philosopher Kurt Flasch offers a full-scale reappraisal of the life and legacy of Meister Eckhart, the medieval German theologian, philosopher and alleged mystic who was active during the 14th-century Avignon Papacy and posthumously condemned as a heretic by Pope John XXII. Flasch argues that Eckhart was an important philosopher of his time rather than a mystic, and sheds new light on this medieval figure who has attracted the attention of modern thinkers including Schopenhauer, Fromm and Derrida.
The Story of Philosophy
A History of Western Thought
The scope of this compact and punchy history of the Western philosophical tradition includes the Ancient Greeks and their related schools, the Enlightenment, the political and moral philosophy of Rousseau and Locke, and existentialism and analytic philosophy.
In Search of Sir Thomas Browne
The Life and Afterlife of the Seventeenth Century's Most Inquiring Mind
The major work of Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682) is the Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646), a catalogue of ‘vulgar errors’ and their correction which, together with Urne-Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus, has charmed writers from Samuel Johnson to Jorge Luis Borges and Javier Marías. Here, another acolyte sets off in the footsteps of the erudite, witty and good-humoured Browne to rediscover his life and work through its diversity of themes, from medicine and human longevity to faith and melancholy. American-cut pages.
What is humanism, and what insights can be gleaned from the different contemporary varieties of this philosophy? Mark Vernon - philosopher, agnostic and former Anglican priest - introduces the history of humanistic thought, from its origins in ancient Greek philosophy, through its emergence as a movement during the Renaissance, to ten 'pressing issues', such as climate change, blasphemy and identity politics, which humanists must face in our own time.
The Advancement of Learning (1640)
The nine books of Francis Bacon's famous review of the state of knowledge begin by extolling the dignity of learning and go on to cover topics from natural philosophy to theology. This book is from the Archival Facsimile series of reprints of first or important editions in the British Library - in this case, the facsimile is of the copy owned by Charles I. Although published in 1987, this is a new book. No jacket.
Robert Grosseteste: Hexaëmeron
Robert Grosseteste's influential Hexaëmeron is a study of the creation story found in the opening chapters of Genesis, which he interpreted not only through the contemporary scientific ideas of the 1230s but also in the light of ancient philosophical thought which was being re-introduced into western Europe. This critical edition presents the full Latin text, based on all the available manuscripts, one of which contains Grosseteste's own annotations and corrections.
Russell's Theory of Perception
Sajahan Miah re-examines and evaluates the development of Russell's concept of perception and the relation of perception to our knowledge of the external world. He focuses largely on the period 1909-19, when Russell attempted a reductionist analysis of empirical knowledge. No jacket.
Josiah Royce's Late Writings
A Collection of Unpublished and Scattered Works (Two volumes)
This collection aims to reveal the late stage of the thought of Josiah Joyce, the American philosopher of community, from 1912 when he began to make creative use of the thought of the logician Charles Sanders Peirce, up to his death in 1916. No jackets.
The Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers
(Two volumes, slip-cased)
Ranging chronologically between John Locke (1632-1704) and Dugald Stewart (1753-1828), this dictionary covers a long 18th century and interprets 'philosophy' inclusively, with entries and bibliographies for around 600 philosophers, scientists, theologians and writers in many other disciplines. No jacket. Slip-cased.
The Visual World of French Theory
In the 1960s and 1970s there were remarkable encounters between the most prominent French philosophers and contemporary artists, particularly members of the Narrative Figuration movement. Passages from critical texts arising from those encounters serve as the focus in each chapter of this illustrated study, which explores, among others, the meetings of Jean-Paul Sartre and Robert Lapoujade; Louis Althusser and Lucio Fanti; and Jacques Derrida and Valerio Adami.
Fragments written in preparation for a defence of Christianity, unfinished at Pascal’s death in 1669 and published posthumously in 1669, Pensées has since been regarded as a masterpiece of French prose as well as a great work of philosophy and theology. Among the ‘Thoughts’ is the famous ‘wager’ argument for the rationality of believing in God that draws on another of Pascal’s works of genius, the theory of probability. Pensées is read, unabridged and in English, by Peter Wickham. 10 CDs.
Get Smart: Philosophy
The Big Ideas You Should Know
Through a combination of quizzes, single-sentence summaries and ten-point explanations, this concise guide introduces 50 of philosophy’s most profound questions and fundamental concepts, illustrating the range of approaches taken by great thinkers down the ages.
An impassioned and persuasive argument for the American colonies’ independence from the British crown, Tom Paine’s pamphlet was published in Philadelphia in 1776. ‘Without the pen of the author of Common Sense’, wrote the founding father John Adams, ‘the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain’.
Plato and the City
A New Introduction to Plato's Political Thought
This is an expanded English version of Pradeau's Platon et la cite (1997). Lucid and non-technical, the book is both a study of the city - or political community - in Plato's work and an introduction to his political thought as a whole, with translations of key extracts. It offers English-speaking readers access to a more unifying continental European reading of Plato than is common in British and North American scholarship. Translated by Janet Lloyd, with a foreword by Christopher Gill.
In Praise of Idleness
A Timeless Essay by Bertrand Russell
Arguing that idleness makes us happier, kinder and more creative, Russell’s celebrated 1932 essay is all too relevant in our age of multi-tasking and digital overload. It appears here with a great modern humourist’s introduction, afterword and illustrations.
Taking its title from the sea monster who rules over the prideful in the Book of Job, Hobbes’s controversial masterpiece of moral and political philosophy proposes a state with absolute power, and describes the relation of the state to religion. The book is read, unabridged, by Peter Wickham. 18 CDs.
Jung: The Key Ideas
An Introduction to Carl Jung's Pioneering Work on Analytical Psychology, Dreams and the Collective Unconscious
This accessible and methodical introduction to Karl Jung’s analytical psychology offers concise explanations of his key concepts, from archetypes and the collective unconscious to dream analysis and the eight psychological types. Illustrated with humorous cartoons, the book also explores his main influences, including his relationship with Freud and his deep interest in Eastern religion, as well as examining the numerous approaches he devised to help understand the human psyche.
Not in God's Name
Confronting Religious Violence
‘Religiously motivated violence must be fought religiously as well as militarily, and with passionate intensity.’ So writes the former Chief Rabbi in this powerful exploration of the roots of religious extremism. By analysing stories of sibling rivalry in the biblical texts shared by the Abrahamic faiths, he shows how centuries of misreadings have led to the ‘altruistic evil’ by which murder is seen as a moral act – an idea against which those of all faiths and none must stand together. Off-mint.
Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat
How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics
Both Einstein and Schrödinger disagreed with the orthodox ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ of quantum theory, which posits the impossibility of determining a particle’s position and momentum at the same time, instead believing a deterministic solution was possible via a ‘unified field theory’. This biographical account of their numerous attempts at a theory follows the evolution of their thinking, from their days as young physicists to later life when their friendship was soured by a public feud.
The Concept of Utopia
Arguing for ‘the continued necessity of utopian thinking in a still largely hostile climate’, and against the assumption of ‘utopia’ as a political blueprint or literary fiction, this influential work offers an analytical introduction to the concept and its articulation in the theoretical work of thinkers including Marx, Engels, Karl Mannheim, Georges Sorel, Ernst Bloch, Herbert Marcuse and William Morris. First published in 1990; reissued with a new author’s preface.
Translated, with an introduction by the Oxford classicist Benjamin Jowett (1817–1893), Plato’s Republic is widely regarded as the finest of the Socratic dialogues, bringing together political thought and philosophy. Among the issues debated in the dialogue are the meaning of justice and the just man, immortality of the soul, the theory of Forms, and the ideal state ruled by its philosopher king.
Meditations on First Philosophy
and Other Metaphysical Writings
This collection of writings by René Descartes (1596–1650) begins with the short, yet tremendously important Discourse on the Method, with the famous assertion cogito ergo sum within the discussion of knowledge, the existence of God and the distinction between mind and body. The Meditations then expand on Descartes’ metaphysical arguments, and selections from The Principles of Philosophy complete the volume.
Human, All Too Human
Published in 1878, two years after Nietzsche broke with German Romanticism and his former friend, Richard Wagner, this is his first philosophical book written in aphoristic style. Here he describes the ‘free spirits’ that will transcend traditional Christianity, challenges the Christian notions of good and evil, and introduces the concept of the will to power.
The Social Contract
‘Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains’, so begins one of the most profoundly influential works of Western political philosophy. Written in 1762, The Social Contract puts forward Rousseau’s theory of the general will and the sovereignty of the whole citizen body – ideas that were taken up by the French revolutionaries and political thinkers as far-flung as Jefferson in America and Tolstoy in Russia.
Thus Spake Zarathustra
This profoundly influential literary-philosophical experiment – a book of aphorisms put into the mouth of the Persian sage Zarathustra – contains the kernel of Nietzsche's thought: his famous proclamation that 'God is dead', and the much-misinterpreted theory of the rise of the Übermensch that has attained a higher, enhanced humanity. First published in four parts in 1883–85.
The Art of Rhetoric
Written around the time that Aristotle (384–322 BCE) established his own school in Athens, this is a guide to what was a critical skill in ancient Greece: the art of arguing persuasively in debate and public speaking. A seminal text that has shaped theory and practice down to modern times, the book sets out the contexts and types of rhetoric, the strategies of persuasion, and the style of delivery.