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by Philip Stokes

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This book invites the reader to explore philosophy through the work of one hundred great thinkers.


This book invites the reader to explore philosophy through the work of one hundred great thinkers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is quite a feat-100 essential philosophers' thoughts are condensed into one volume! One-page explanations alongside full-page pictures of these Western philosophers invite the curious reader to browse. Yet there is no light reading here. Interconnections among thinkers, such as the rationalists, empiricists, materialists, and existentialists, along with historical twists from the pre-Socratic to the new scientists are revealed only through close study of the entire book. Plato or Aristotle seems almost comprehensible once the reader arrives at the "linguistic turn" of the twentieth-century philosophers. The "love of wisdom" blazes trails where science, religion, politics, economics, and other methodologies dare not go or have not yet thought of going. Only two women, Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir, are a part of this great journey-a fact that leads to speculation about the nature of philosophy itself. The book reviewed was an uncorrected proof, which probably accounts for the following omissions: final editing; glossary; index; biography of author; photo captions referencing artist/photographer, etc.; introductions to sections with definitions of schools of thought; time line; and references. A bright young adult could glean information from these entries, but the book leans more toward an adult student. This is a reference book a student will want to open again and again. 2003 (orig. 2002), Enchanted Lion Books, Ages 15 up.
— Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Wendy Glenn
This reference text introduces readers to one hundred Western philosophers. Each entry consists of two pages containing a full-page black-and-white rendering of the philosopher and a full-page of text delineating his or her key ideas, goals, and writings. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the philosophers referenced are overwhelmingly male (Socrates, Democritus, St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, More, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Chomsky, Skinner, among others), with Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir as the only female thinkers considered worthy of inclusion. While the text claims to place each thinker in his/her associated school of thought, there is no attention given to describing these schools of thought as a means to provide context for the philosophers representative of it. While readers learn, for example, that Levi-Strauss, Foucault, and Derrida belong to the Postmodernist movement, they aren't provided adequate explanation for what this might mean. Although a glossary of key terms follows the entries, definitions for "postmodernism" and several other schools of thought are not included. In terms of writing style, the lofty language and attempt to convey complex notions in such a small space make the text difficult to access, especially considering the intended adolescent audience. A useful resource for classroom teachers but not likely to resonate well with kids.
This is a fine reference book. It is thoughtfully written and beautifully (if simply) designed. There's a full-page drawing or photograph on the left of each turned page, and an autobiographical, analytic essay on the right (with a pulled quote to highlight one key idea). There's also a useful philosophical glossary at the end. Philosophers are grouped into schools (rationalists, liberals, materialists, existentialists, etc.). While one could quibble with categorizations (Freud a materialist?), there's no denying the solid, sensible portraits of thinkers' work. The playful limerick objecting to Bishop Berkeley's extreme idealism that ends the Berkeley section shows that Stokes has a perfectly pitched approach, taking the material seriously yet making it intellectually fun as well. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Enchanted Lion Books, dist. by Farrar Straus Giroux, 218p. illus., Ages 15 to adult.
—Daniel Levinson
Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-This book takes a thematic and then chronological approach to its subject. The philosophers are first grouped by their school of thought, clearly outlined on the contents page. Within each division, Stokes includes several examples, showing the progression of that philosophy over time. For example, existentialism is traced from Kierkegaard through Heidegger and Sartre to de Beauvoir. Each entry is two pages long, and includes a black-and-white illustration or photo of the philosopher. No biographical information is included beyond a general comment about nationality or education. Instead, readers are given a summary of each individual's contribution to the "science" of philosophy. There are cross-references throughout, indicated by boldface type. The glossary seeks to clarify some of the more difficult terms and concepts. This is not a work for beginners; both the vocabulary and content make it appropriate for more mature readers. Overall, however, it is a valuable introduction to some of the world's great thinkers.-Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Enchanted Lion Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.66(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Philip Stokes received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Reading, where he is now on the faculty. He also received an M.A. from Bristol University.

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