Review: Nigel Warburton's "A Little History of Philosophy"

Nigel Warburton's "A Little History of Philosophy" is a book in line with the other "Little History" books. The strategy of this book is to hit the main philosopher from Socrates to Peter Singer. Along with the discussion of the person, famous works, ideas, and contributions are all included with that particualr philosopher's chapter. The result is that you get a sampler-tray esque view of philosophical thought over many different subjects. The chapters are not very long, so you don't stay on one person for too long. The only philosopher to get a two-parter is Kant, one part for "Critique of Pure Reason", and one for his moral philosophy.

The only problem that I have with the book is more of a nitpick, and it really isn't the fault of the book, just the format it has to use to acomplish its task. In several chapters, there will be time and subject skips that make the book and subject in question feel very segmented. The author tries to prevent this as much as possible, as in some places there will simply be a shift from one author on a subject a contemporary on the same subject. Again, not a big deal as it is a "Little History", not a comprehensive overview, but a real understanding of the thinkers invovled will require futher research.

At 272 pages and 40 chapters covering over 40 philosophers, it works well as a primer to philosophy and exposure to different veins of thought. A good starting off point to discover other thinkers you may find interesting, but also as a good read for anyone looking to understand the subject more.

Note for the Audiobook: The audiobook for this book is exclusive to Audible and is quite good. The audiobook is read by Kris Dyer. Good mic quality, a clear voice, and an impecable British accent make it an enjoyable listen. Definatly a viable alternative to reading the book.


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