Philosophical Tales: Being an Alternative History Revealing the Characters, the Plots, and the Hidden Scenes That Make Up the True Story of Philosophy / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $16.77   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   


Enlightening and entertaining, Philosophical Tales examines a few of the fascinating biographical details of history’s greatest philosophers (alas, mostly men) and highlights their contributions to the field. By applying the true philosophical approach to philosophy itself, the text provides us with a refreshing 'alternative history' of philosophy.

  • Opens up new philosophical debate by applying the true philosophical approach to philosophy itself
  • Provides summaries of the most celebrated and philosophically interesting tales, their backgrounds, and assessments of the leading players
  • Explores philosophers and schools of thought in one key philosophical text to supply a solid grounding in philosophical ideas and individuals
  • Shakes some of the foundations of philosophy with the aim of encouraging the reinvigoration of philosophy itself
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“We need more stories in philosophy, and Martin Cohen aims to fill this lacuna with Philosophical Tales. [This book] is intended for a general audience interested in a satirical introduction to overlooked aspects of Western philosophy and the lives of the great philosophers.  Philosophical Tales does tell a number of interesting stories, and any instructor of philosophy will find it handy to have these stories available to enliven a class.  Instructors will also find it valuable to use these philosophical tales to raise a compelling question: is a philosophy only as good as the philosopher who proposes it?” (Teaching Philosophy, December 2009) 

"Great philosophers only become well known after their deaths. Indeed, to speak of contemporary celebrity philosophers is oxymoronic. Still, one can't help wondering who amongst living philosophers will merit future Philosophical Tales. (The Philosopher, Autumn 2008)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405140379
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/2/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,461,790
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Cohen is a teacher and writer specializing in philosophy, ethics and education, with a special interest in computing. His books include 101 Philosophy Problems (2nd edn., 2001), Political Philosophy (2001), 101 Ethical Dilemmas (2003), and Wittgenstein's Beetle and Other Classic Thought Experiments (Blackwell, 2005). He has been editor of The Philosopher since 1995.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


How to Use this Book.

Philosophical Illustrations.

The Tales.

I The Ancients.

1 Socrates the Sorcerer (469–399 bce).

2 The Different Forms of Plato (ca. 427–347 bce).

3 Aristotle the Aristocrat (384–ca. 322 bce).

II More Ancients.

4 Lao Tzu Changes into Nothing (6th–5th c. bce).

5 Pythagoras Counts Up to Ten (ca. 570–495 bce).

6 Heraclitus Chooses the Dark Side of the River (ca. 5th c. bce).

7 Hypatia Holds Up Half of the Sky (ca. 370–415 ce).

III Medieval Philosophy.

8 Augustine the Hippocrite (354–430 ce).

9 St. Thomas Aquinas Disputes the Existence of God (1225–1274).

IV Modern Philosophy.

10 Descartes the Dilettante (1596–1650).

11 Hobbes Squares the Circle (1588–1679).

12 Spinoza Grinds Himself Away… (1632–1677).

V Enlightened Philosophy.

13 John Locke Invents the Slave Trade (1632–1704).

14 The Many Faces of David Hume (1711–1776).

15 Rousseau the Rogue (1712–1778).

16 Immanuel Kant, the Chinaman of Königsburg (1724–1804).

VI The Idealists.

17 Gottfried Leibniz, the Thinking Machine (1646–1716).

18 Bishop Berkeley’s Bermuda College (1685–1753).

19 Headmaster Hegel’s Dangerous History Lesson (1770–1831).

20 Arthur Schopenhauer and the Little Old Lady (1788–1860).

VII The Romantics.

21 The Seduction of Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855).

22 Mill’s Poetical Turn (1806–1873).

23 Henry Thoreau and Life in the Shed (1817–1862).

24 Marx’s Revolutionary Materialism (1818–1883).

VIII Recent Philosophy.

25 Russell Denotes Something (1872–1970).

26 The Ripping Yarn of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951).

27 Heidegger’s Tale (and the Nazis) (1889–1976).

28 Benjamin Lee Whorf and the Color Pinker (ca. 1900–1950).

29 Being Sartre and Not Definitely Not Being Beauvoir (1905–1980 and not 1908–1986).

30 Deconstructing Derrida (1930–2004).

Scholarly Appendix: Women in Philosophy, and Why There Aren’t Many.

Key Sources and Further Reading.



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)