fun, concise and attractive introduction to a fascinating and challenging subject, this is the ideal book for teenagers and students coming to philosophy for the first time, or indeed for anyone who just doesn't know where to start.
The book examines 18 key thinkers, from Socrates to Derrida, exploring their ideas in relation to each other and to their historical and cultural contexts. Derek Johnston uses clear and accessible language to present an engaging chronological picture of the key figures, events and ideas that have shaped the history of philosophy. Boxes giving timelines of key events and crisp, clear explanations of key terms feature throughout the book. The book can be easily used as a reference tool or read all the way through for a clear overview of philosophy. Indeed, as the reader's understanding of the nature of philosophy develops, so too does the book's approach to its subject matter, introducing more complex ideas as the chapters progress. Crucially, the book does not try to cover everything - this is a concise and accessible introduction to philosophy for those starting out in this compelling subject.
No prior knowledge of philosophy is required to enjoy this incisive, reader-friendly introduction. This is the ideal book for AS/A2 level students or general readers looking for a way into this fascinating but very often challenging subject.
1. Plato and Socrates: The Fire and the Sun
2. Aristotle: The Spirit of Rational Enquiry
3. Epicurus and Zeno: How to Lead a Good Life
4. St Thomas Aquinas: The Unified Interpretation of Reality
5. René Descartes: Systematic Doubt as Philosophical Method
6. John Locke and Montesquieu: The Liberal State
7. Benedict de Spinoza: Rigorous Thought and Severe Conclusions
8. David Hume: Empirical Verification
9. Immanuel Kant: The Critique of Reason
10. Karl Marx: The March of History
11. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Will to Power
12. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Language and Reality
13. Martin Heidegger: We Have Forgotten Being
14. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialist Anguish
15. Jacques Derrida: Deconstructing Reality
Derek Johnston is a retired teacher. He was Vice-Principal of Midleton College, Co Cork, Ireland, where he taught for over 30 years.
A Brief History of Philosophy by Derek Johnston was published by Continuum in June 2006. The ISBN for A Brief History of Philosophy is 9780826490209.