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As the first history of philosophy to be written in English it was the authoritative reference work well into the 18th century and saw four English ...
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As the first history of philosophy to be written in English it was the authoritative reference work well into the 18th century and saw four English editions as well as a Latin translation which secured its European reputation. The work takes Diogenes Laertius's great biographical works, "Lives and Opinions of the Famous Philosophers" (circa 3rd century) as its model, and extensively examines the ancient schools (sects) of philosophy. At the same time Stanley draws from other sources, including Pierre Gassendi's "De Vita, Moribus et Doctrina Epicuri" (1647) for Epicureanism, and provides some independent work on Aristotle and the Stoics. The work also contains a series of critical biographies from Thales to Carneades and is a fine example from the early modern period of a doxographical (method of organization by topics or subjects) and biographical approach to writing the history of philosophy.