Philosophy in the Modern World

Philosophy in the Modern World

Philosophy in the Modern World

Philosophy in the Modern World

Synopsis

Sir Anthony Kenny tells the fascinating story of the development of philosophy from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. The first part of the book offers a lively narrative introducing the major thinkers in their historical context. The reader is then guided through the nine main areas of philosophical work in the period, offering a serious engagement with the ideas and arguments. Among those we meet are Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Heidegger and Sartre, Marx, Darwin and Freud, Wittgenstein and Russell. Philosophy in the Modern World completes the four-volume set of the New History of Western Philosophy, which offers a unified overview of the entire development of western philosophy, allowing readers to trace themes from antiquity to the present day. The story is illuminated by a selection of intriguing and beautiful illustrations.

Excerpt

This is the final volume of a four-volume history of Western philosophy from its beginnings to its most recent past. The first volume, published in 2004, told the story of ancient philosophy, and the second volume, published in 2005, covered medieval philosophy from the time of St Augustine to the Renaissance. The third volume, The Rise of Modern Philosophy, treated of the major philosophers of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, ending with the death of Hegel early in the nineteenth. This present volume continues the narrative up to the final years of the twentieth century.

There are two different kinds of reason for reading a history of philosophy. Some readers do so because they are seeking help and illumination from older thinkers on topics of current philosophical interest. Others are more interested in the people and societies of the distant or recent past, and wish to learn about their intellectual climate. I have structured this and previous volumes in a way that will meet the needs of both classes of reader. The book begins with three summary chapters, each of which follows a chronological sequence; it then contains nine chapters, each of which deals with a particular area of philosophy, from logic to natural theology. Those whose primary interest is historical may focus on the chronological surveys, referring if they wish to the thematic sections for amplification. Those whose primary interest is philosophical will concentrate rather on the later chapters, referring back to the chronological chapters to place particular issues in context.

Certain themes have occupied chapters in each of the four volumes of this series: epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and philosophy of religion. Other topics have varied in importance over the centuries, and the pattern of thematic chapters has varied accordingly. The first two volumes began the thematic section with a chapter on logic and language, but there was no such chapter in volume III because logic went into hibernation at the Renaissance. In the period covered by the present volume formal logic and the philosophy of language occupied such a central position that each topic deserves a chapter to itself. In the earlier . . .

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