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The Columbia History of Western Philosophy


Richard Popkin has assembled 63 leading scholars to forge a highly approachable chronological account of the development of Western philosophical traditions. From Plato to Wittgenstein and from Aquinas to Heidegger, this volume provides lively, in-depth, and up-to-date historical analysis of all the key figures, schools, and movements of Western philosophy.

The Columbia History significantly broadens the scope of Western philosophy to reveal the influence of Middle Eastern and ...

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The Columbia History of Western Philosophy

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Richard Popkin has assembled 63 leading scholars to forge a highly approachable chronological account of the development of Western philosophical traditions. From Plato to Wittgenstein and from Aquinas to Heidegger, this volume provides lively, in-depth, and up-to-date historical analysis of all the key figures, schools, and movements of Western philosophy.

The Columbia History significantly broadens the scope of Western philosophy to reveal the influence of Middle Eastern and Asian thought, the vital contributions of Jewish and Islamic philosophers, and the role of women within the tradition. Along with a wealth of new scholarship, recently discovered works in 17th- and 18th-century philosophy are considered, such as previously unpublished works by Locke that inspire a new assessment of the evolution of his ideas. Popkin also emphasizes schools and developments that have traditionally been overlooked. Sections on Aristotle and Plato are followed by a detailed presentation on Hellenic philosophy and its influence on the modern developments of materialism and scepticism. A chapter has been dedicated to Jewish and Moslem philosophical development during the Middle Ages, focusing on the critical role of figures such as Averro√ęs and Moses Maimonides in introducing Christian thinkers to classical philosophy. Another chapter considers Renaissance philosophy and its seminal influence on the development of modern humanism and science.

Turning to the modern era, contributors consider the importance of the Kaballah to Spinoza, Leibniz, and Newton and the influence of popular philosophers like Moses Mendelssohn upon the work of Kant. This volume gives equal attention to bothsides of the current rift in philosophy between continental and analytic schools, charting the development of each right up to the end of the 20th century.

Each chapter includes an introductory essay, and Popkin provides notes that draw connections among the separate articles. The rich bibliographic information and the indexes of names and terms make the volume a valuable resource.

Combining a broad scope and penetrating analysis with a keen sense of what is relevant for the modern reader, The Columbia History of Western Philosophy will prove an accessible introduction for students and an informative overview for general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

Recommended for undergraduate libraries that support courses in the history of philosophy and general humanities. General readers and all student levels.
Library Journal
This work ranges over the whole history of Western philosophy, from the pre-Socratics to 20th-century philosophy, both analytic and continental. In doing so, moreover, it does not restrict itself merely to major philosophers but includes more than the usual few sentences ordinarily accorded minor figures. The accounts, on the whole, are accurate and clearly written, though some of those about 20th-century continental philosophy are trapped within the muddled discourse of their subject matter. Although only the sections on medieval Christian philosophy and 20th-century analytic philosophy have single authors (S.F. Brown and A. Stroll, respectively), differences in writing do not distract. The section on skepticism, as might be expected from Popkin's authority on the subject, is especially good, as are Stroll's succinct explanations of technical matters. Highly recommended for academic and large libraries.--Robert Hoffman, York College of CUNY, Stony Brook, NY
Richard Popkin and 63 other scholars give a chronological account of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the post-modernists. Includes essays on philosophical themes and problems of various periods, as well as on leading thinkers and schools. Focuses on some that are traditionally overlooked in such studies including medieval Jewish and Muslim philosophers. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567313475
  • Publisher: MJF Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 836
  • Product dimensions: 6.47 (w) x 9.63 (h) x 1.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard H. Popkin was professor emeritus, Washington University, St. Louis, and adjunct professor of philosophy and history at UCLA. He was the founding director of the International Archives of the History of Ideas, and president emeritus and founding editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy. Among his many books are The Third Force in Seventeenth-Century Thought; The History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza; Introduction to Philosophy (with Avrum Stroll); and The High Road to Pyrrhonism.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors
1 Origins of Western Philosophic Thinking 1
Introduction 1
The Pre-Socratic Philosophers 6
The Sophists 20
Socrates and the Socratics 23
Plato 32
Aristotle 52
Brief Summary of Aristotle's Writings 72
Hellenistic Philosophy 74
Middle Platonism 91
Gnosticism 100
Plotinus and Neoplatonism 102
Early Jewish and Christian Uses of Philosophy 111
The Greek Tradition in Early Christian Philosophy 118
The Latin Tradition in Early Christian Philosophy 128
2 Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy 140
Introduction 140
Sa'adya Gaon 144
Jewish and Early Muslim Neoplatonism 149
Abu Nasr Muhammed al-Farabi 153
Avicenna 157
Al-Ghazali 163
Philosophical Mysticism in Islamic Thought 170
Introduction 172
Solomon ibn Gabirol 173
Judah Halevi 177
Averroes 183
Moses Maimonides 188
Jewish Averroism 196
Gersonides 200
Hasdai Crescas, Joseph Albo, and Isaac Abrabanel 204
Moses de Leon and the Zohar 210
Isaac Luria and the Lurianic Kabbalah 213
Abraham Cohen Herrera 215
Conclusion 217
3 Medieval Christian Philosophy 219
Early Period 219
Translation and Transmission of Greek Philosophy 230
Bonaventure 244
Thomas Aquinas 251
Latin Averroism 256
Scotus and Scotism 261
Late Scholasticism 267
Realism Versus Nominalism 271
4 The Renaissance 279
Between Ockham and Descartes 279
Aristotelianisms 280
Humanism 292
Platonism 303
Doubt and Innovation 315
5 Seventeenth-Century Philosophy 329
The Sceptical Crisis 329
Rene Descartes 336
Seventeenth-Century Philosophy After Descartes 346
Thomas Hobbes 346
Blaise Pascal 352
The Philosophy of the Royal Society of England 358
The Kabbala denudata 363
The Cambridge Platonists 366
Baruch de Spinoza 373
John Locke 382
Nicolas Malebranche 389
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 396
Pierre Bayle and Bishop Huet, the Master Sceptics 404
Europe and Non-European Cultures 412
China and Western Philosophy in the Age of Reason 412
6 Eighteenth-Century Philosophy 422
Introduction 422
Isaac Newton 423
The Newton-Leibniz Controversy 431
Deism 437
George Berkeley 445
Immaterialism in the American Colonies: Samuel Johnson and Jonathan Edwards 452
David Hume 454
The French Enlightenment 462
Christian Thomasius and Christian Wolff 472
Moses Mendelssohn 475
Thomas Reid 480
Scepticism Before Kant 487
The Berlin Academy 490
Immanuel Kant 494
Vico, Hamann, and Herder 502
Eighteenth-Century Racism 508
7 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy 516
Introduction 516
Early Sceptical, Religious, and Literary Responses to Kantian Philosophy 518
The Flowering of Idealism 524
Johann Gottlieb Fichte 524
F. W. J. Schelling 528
G. W. F. Hegel 533
The Turn from Idealism 542
Arthur Schopenhauer 542
Soren Kierkegaard 546
Ludwig Feuerbach 549
Karl Marx 552
The Problem of Values in the Late Nineteenth Century 556
France 567
Nineteenth-Century British Philosophy 575
American Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century 587
The Beginnings of Pragmatism: Peirce, Wright, James, Royce 592
John Dewey 600
8 Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy 604
Introduction 604
Symbolic Logic 606
The Logistic Thesis 610
The Theory of Descriptions 613
Logical Positivism 621
Ludwig Wittgenstein 629
Gilbert Ryle and J. L. Austin 642
Karl Popper and W. V. O. Quine 647
Direct-Reference Theorists 652
Donald Davidson and John Searle 655
New Directions 657
9 Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy 667
The Early Decades: Positivism, Neo-Kantianism, Dilthey 667
Husserl and Phenomenology 675
Martin Heidegger 682
Continental Philosophy of Science 691
Existentialism and Beyond 698
Hermeneutics: Gadamer and Ricoeur 705
Continental Theistic Philosophers 712
Continental Philosophy: Neo-Marxism 721
French Feminist Philosophy 730
Poststructuralism: Derrida and Foucault 737
Continental Philosophy at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century A1 Charles E. Scott 745
Epilogue 755
Epilogue on the History of Philosophy 757
History of Philosophy and Reconstructing Philosophy 758
Women in the History of Philosophy 765
Philosophy and the History of Philosophy 772
Index of Names 779
Index of Subjects 801
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