Being a Philosopher: The History of a Practice


Usually histories of philosophy either chart the ideas and arguments of philosophers up to the present time or relate the philosophers' ideas to their historical context. In this book, David Hamlyn charts the history of the practice of philosophy, from the Greek philosophical schools to the progressive professionalism of contemporary philosophy. It is the first history to answer the question 'What do philosophers do?Socrates died for his teaching; Aquinas was kidnapped by his brothers on the way to study at university; Spinoza and Leibniz turned down philosophy chairs; Hume was twice refused a philosophy chair; Russell arrived in America only to find his professorship had been withdrawn due to his immorality. The unusual relationship between philosophers and the institution of philosophy makes this book an enjoyable and fascinating read. Important morals for present practice are derived by David Hamlyn from this history of philosophy.The author has published widely in all areas of philosophy and is the author of the Penguin History of Western Philosophy . D.W. Hamlyn was editor from 1972 to 1984 of Mind , the best known British journal of philosophy.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992


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