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History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics)

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Written late in life by one of the great contributors to philosophy and logic, who was also a man of deep and abiding liberal principles, it is a unique book. There are useful general chapters placing philosophers and their thoughts in a broader historical context such as "The Hellenistic World" and "The Italian Renaissance".

In the background of the text, running through every page, is his grappling with the questions: “what is the future for civilization?Definitely recommended to anyone with enough interest in the subject to persevere for over 800 pages. In Volume 1, Russell deals with Greek philosophy, up to and including the times of the Roman Empire. Considering Nietzsche's influence on later ideologies like Nazism, it is important to realize Russell's point. To see Russell dismantle Nietzsche as a pathetic, neurotic failure who dreamt of being a military genius but in reality was a sickly and empty person is a real pleasure. This is also true in one's approach to this book because much has happened since it was written, particularly in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary theory, that casts new light on many of the most fundamental philosophical issues.

Not only is this an excellent primer on all the major Western philosophers and an impressive synthesis of the evolution of philosophic thought over a 2500-year span, it's also one of the wittier books I've ever read. Russell has opted to for a mix of the last two options — and he prefers himself over all others, that’s all! And then he goes over the centuries digging up inconsistencies within the thinking frameworks being discussed. In the Middle ages, learning was in the hands of the Church and the only interest Schoolmen had in disputing each other was to show their intellectual capabilities. Deste modo Russell começa logo por atacar fortemente Sócrates, seguido de Platão, e até mesmo Aristóteles que diz admirar, e a quem tece alguns dos maiores elogios, acaba bastante mal-tratado.As I said above, it's not that he has biases that is bad, it's that they affect his work and take away some credibility. Nietzsche created an imaginary Ubermensch as wishful thinking; Hitler tried to copy the idea and killed millions of peoples.

Aristotle, whose philosophy was a reaction to Plato, putting more emphasis on this world (as opposed to Plato's world of perfect Ideas as only Truth), wasn't very helpful as a medicine against dogmatism.In Jon Stewart's anthology The Hegel Myths and Legends (1996), Russell's work is listed as a book that has propagated "myths" about Hegel. So having read only modern philosophy(about 400 pages) , I can say that Bertrand Russell is pretty concise, accessible and definitely based; and he's not trying to hide it.

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