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A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts

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He has written a number of influential books on the history of philosophy, and is editor of The Wittgenstein Reader, (Blackwell, 1994). Kenny candidly describes the predicament of the beginning of the universe, which both atheists and agnostics face, writing, "According to the Big Bang Theory, the whole matter of the universe began at a particular time in the remote past. Not only an authoritative guide to the history of philosophy, but also a compelling introduction to every major area of philosophical enquiry.

It bequeathed to the world an emphasis on virtues and vices, happiness as well-being or a life well lived, and rationally motivated action as a mean between extremes. On par with Bertrand Russell's history of philosophy and it's amazing to read to contrast the two and triangulate a better understanding of each era. Plato and Aristotle were not the high point and originators of philosophy for no reason, but they were part of a Greek culture that, in some ways, was more advanced than the world in which we live today - e. He commends Denis Noble's principle of 'Biological Relativity' which states (according to Kenny) that "in biology there is no privileged level of causation: living organisms and multilevel open systems in which the behaviour at any level depends on higher and lower levels".Kenny provides a lot of historical context and does not only present philosophical ideas on their own. Other reviewers thought this brilliant, so it probably is, but after reading the Coppleston series years ago and Betrand Russell's histories, I got lazy. This book is no less than a guide to the whole of Western philosophy … Kenny tells the story of philosophy from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment into the modern world.

His chapter on aesthetics might have benefited greatly from a short foray into Heidegger's "The Origin of the Work of Art. Kenny’s book is a concise chronological introduction to the great minds of philosophical thought through the ages. Chatper 20 (Darwain, Newman and Freud) is to me out of place - would have preferred something on existentialism rather.

Anthony Kenny, Philosophy in the Modern World: A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume 4, Oxford University Press, 2007, 347pp. The author not only has a remarkable grasp of the broad sweep of philosophical ideas, but is also an authority in his own right.

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