Classics of Philosophy

Classics of Philosophy

Classics of Philosophy

Classics of Philosophy

Synopsis

Classics of Philosophy, 2/e, is the most comprehensive anthology of writings in Western philosophy in print. Spanning 2500 years of thought, it is ideal for introduction to philosophy and history of philosophy courses that are structured chronologically. More than seventy works by forty-two philosophers as well as fragments from the Pre-Socratics are included, offering students and general readers alike an extensive and economical collection of the major works of the Western tradition. This anthology contains the most important writings from Thales to Rawls; seventeen of these are complete works, while the others are judiciously abridged so that little of value to the student is lost. Unabridged works include such classics as Plato's The Apology, Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy, Leibniz's The Monadology, Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Kant's Foundation for the Metaphysic of Morals, Mill's Utilitarianism, Russell's A Free Man's Worship, Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism, and Rawls's "Justice as Fairness." A lucid introduction, including a brief biographical sketch, accompanies each of the featured philosophers. Classics of Philosophy, 2/e, provides an extensive view of the most significant stages of growth in Western philosophy, including its birth with the Pre-Socratics as well as its contemporary developments. The second edition includes new selections by Augustine, Berkeley, Hume, Wollstonecraft, Nagel, and Foot.

Excerpt

I am grateful that the widespread use of the first edition of Classics of Philosophy has enabled me to revise this anthology, adding to its selections and improving it in several places. The work continues to contain the largst collection of writings in Western Philosophy, more than 20 complete works and more than 50 selections. The material spans over 2500 years from Thales (585 B.C.) to John Rawls (1958), including over 50 philosophers, several of them Pre-Socratics. In Part 1 “The Ancient Period” I have added the selections from the Pre-Socratics with new translations, commissioned for this edition, by Dan Graham, one of the leading authorities on the Pre-Socratics. I have enlarged the selection from Plato's Phaedo, so that it now contains nearly the whole dialogue. Plotinus's important Ennead V.1 has also been added. In Part 2 “The Medieval Period” I have added selections from Augustine's City of God and Aquinas' Summa Theologica. In Part 3 “The Modern Period” much new material has been added, including more material from Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge. I have also added Hume's discussion of personal identity from his Treatise on Human Nature and a selection from Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women. A selection from Mill's Subjection of Women is also included in this edition. To Part 4 “The Contemporary Period” I have added Thomas Nagel's “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” and Philippa Foot's “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives.”

I am grateful for the suggestions from many philosophers in improving this work, including Wallace Matson, Bill Lawhead, Jim Landesman, Stanley Obitts, and several anonymous reviewers. Dan Graham should be singled out for his trenchant review of this work and for providing new excellent translations of the Pre-Socratics. The inclusion of the PreSocratics, vital to our understanding of the history of philosophy, but usually omitted in such anthologies, is one of the features that marks this anthology off from its rivals. My editor, Robert Miller, provided exemplary support for this revision. My wife, Trudy, with her love and devotion, as always was the vital force that enabled me to accomplish this task with joy. She also helped edit this work.

The work is dedicated to Wallace Matson and Bill Lawhead, two friends and scholars whose work in the history of philosophy has influenced and inspired me over the years.

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