For the reader who has lain awake fretting over his tenuous grasp of the Aristotelian syllogism, or the ontological argument for the existence of God, or the nature of Kant's categorical imperative; or who simply struggles to tell his Frege from his Feuerbach, his Husserl from his Heidegger, his Saussure from his Sartre...- help is finally at hand. That help comes in the comfortingly accessible form of Stephen Trombley's Very Short History of Western Thought, which outlines the 2,500-year history of European ideas from the philosophers of Classical Antiquity to the thinkers of today, No major representative of any significant strand of Western thought escapes Trombley's attention: the Christian Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages, the great philosophers of the Enlightenment, the German idealists from Kant to Hegel; the utilitarians Bentham and Mill; the transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau; Kierkegaard and the existentialists; the analytic philosophers Russell, Moore, Whitehead and Wittgenstein; and - last but not least - the four shapers-in-chief of our modern world: the philosopher, historian and political theorist Karl Marx; the naturalist Charles Darwin, proposer of the theory of evolution; Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; and the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, begetter of the special and general theories of relativity and founder of post-Newtonian physics.
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Published January 1, 2012
Law & Philosophy.