A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny

Anthony Kenny (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Kenny) has produced a monumental work for the general reader on the history of Western philosophy. Not many heroic attempts on this scale have been made since that of Bertrand Russell in 1945 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_Western_Philosophy) and (http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Western-Philosophy-Routledge-Classics/dp/0415325056/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387469626&sr=8-1&keywords=russell+history+of+western+philosophy)

Kenny’s work was originally published in 4 parts as follows:

  • Kenny, A. (2004) Ancient Philosophy: A New History of Western Philosophy, vol. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-875273-3
  • Kenny, A. (2005) Medieval Philosophy: A New History of Western Philosophy, vol. 2 OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-875275-2
  • Kenny, A. (2006) The Rise of Modern Philosophy : A New History of Western Philosophy, vol. 3 OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-875277-6
  • Kenny, A. (2007) Philosophy in the Modern World: A New History of Western Philosophy, vol. 4. OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-875279-0

This is no less than a complete history of the ideas that have undergirded our civilization for two-and-a-half thousand years. Kenny tells the story of philosophy from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment into the modern world. He introduces us to the great thinkers and their ideas, starting with Plato, Aristotle, and the other founders of Western thought. In the second part of the book he takes us through a thousand years of medieval philosophy, and shows us the rich intellectual legacy of Christian thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, and Ockham. Moving into the early modern period, we explore the great works of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume, and Kant, which remain essential reading today. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Hegel, Mill, Nietzsche, Freud, and Wittgenstein again transformed the way we see the world.

Running though the book are certain themes which have been constant concerns of philosophy since its early beginnings: the fundamental questions of what exists and how we can know about it; the nature of humanity, the mind, truth, and meaning; the place of God in the universe; how we should live and how society should be ordered. Anthony Kenny traces the development of these themes through the centuries: we see how the questions asked and answers offered by the great philosophers of the past remain vividly alive today.

Does a scholar of such vast erudition, and after a lifetime of reflection, have his own views on some of the topics that Kenny covers? Yes, and he’s prepared to share them in What I Believe (2006) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-I-Believe-A-J-P-Kenny/dp/0826496164/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388412420&sr=8-1&keywords=kenny+what+I+believe)

Now available as a paperback A New History of Western Philosophy (published as a single hardback volume in 2010) takes pride of place on any bookshelf. Own it.

1088 pages in Oxford University Press paperback edition

ISBN 978-0199589883 (paperback edition)

Sir Anthony Kenny having digested the whole of Western Philosophy

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