Monday Books: More Than Just a School of Thought; the Story of Philosophy, by Bryan Magee, Published by Dorling Kindersley, Pounds 20

Article excerpt

PHILOSOPHY is undergoing something of a popular renaissance and many books have been published which attempt to explain it in an accessible way.

What has never been attempted before now is a fully illustrated guide to the history of ideas and thinking.

In The Story of Philosophy, broadcaster, writer and critic Professor Bryan Magee traces 2,500 years of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to modern thinkers.

His deep appreciation of the subject and grasp of its complexities have enabled him to produce a book accessible to the general reader, yet substantial enough for the more experienced reader.

He covers every major philosophy, from Plato to Popper via Saint Agustine, Locke and Nietzsche but it is of Aristotle that we probably identify most.

He had been a pupil of Plato, becoming the tutor to Alexander the Great through his father's connections to the King of Macedon. Aristotle was what we would now describe as a "permanent student" having spent 20 years at Plato's Academy.

He left this to establish his own school, the Lyceum, now a recently discovered archaeological site.

Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed there was only one world to philosophise about - the one we live in - and to him it was a world of inexhaustible fascination and wonder. …