Study Guide

A History of Western Philosophy Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 121 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A History of Western Philosophy.
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A History of Western Philosophy Summary & Study Guide Description

A History of Western Philosophy Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.

The rise of Greek civilization provided missing elements of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization. Greek achievements involved the invention of mathematics, science, philosophy, and history. The origins of philosophy date back to 585 BC, the time of Thales, who predicted an eclipse.

The development of Greek thought marks the development of philosophical thought at the forefront of European civilization and had important influence until the most recent developments. This account of philosophical thought in Europe provides insights that were equally important, such as historical and cultural circumstances. Such circumstances proved crucial as wars or economic conditions significantly influence people's well being and hence their opinions. Essentially the history of philosophical thought is a process that driven by science, events, and people of the given period.

The most significant influence on the history of philosophical thought had religion that dominated both thought and science until modern times. The development of science marked a new era and the course of development that profoundly influenced the manner of life and thought.

The account given by Russell reveals various tendencies in philosophy that contributed to the way philosophy engages with the world today. The connections between various periods are pertinent to such development through various period characteristics and tendencies on both political and individual level.

Russell divides the book into three books, each dealing with different time period. The first book includes the most important ancient philosophers, such as Thales, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cynics, Sceptics, Epicureans, and Plotinus. In the second book, he includes philosophies of Saint Augustine, Saint Benedict, Gregory the Great, and John the Scot, the Mohammedan influence, and Saint Thomas de Aquinas. Modern philosophy includes Machiavelli, Erasmus, Francis Bacon, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Byron, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Marx, Bergson, William James, and John Hewey.

As these philosophical trends influence each other, they combine various views through natural, ethical, and natural sphere of life. While forming certain pattern of thinking these perspectives connect through common themes and background. Although these views incorporate certain guidance on matters pertaining to life and death, as Russell claims, philosophy should be most of all engaged in searching for truth while being objective in its notions.

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This section contains 369 words
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