Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A Short History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton

While I’m not sure that Warburton quite matches the elegance of E. H. Gombrich’s counter, he certainly comes close. A Short History of Philosophy gives you 40 bite-sized essays on various philosophers or schools or philosophy, such as Epicureanism or Kant (who gets two chapters), starting at Socrates and winding his way to Peter Singer. Of course, this does raise one issue that made me rather angry with whoever came up with the title. Properly, this book should be ‘A Short History of Western Philosophy’, as there is not a single mention of anyone outside Europe or North America. There are no accounts of developments in China or India, which is very irritating as I know even less about that than I do about western philosophy. I shall have to find another book to fulfill that role.

Nevertheless, Warburton succeeds in getting quite complicated ideas across (in a simplified version, of course) in quite a small amount of space, although the differing concepts hit you so quickly that it’s hard to absorb them all in one reading, but I doubt that I will regret having to peruse the book a second, third or even fourth time, so engagingly is it written. 7.7/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment