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What to expect

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The History of Philosophy written by A.C. Grayling, read by Neil Gardner.

The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey.

With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates, through Christianity’s dominance of the European mind to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too.

Intelligible for students and eye-opening for philosophy readers, he covers epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates in these areas of enquiry, through the ideas of the celebrated philosophers as well as less well-known influential thinkers. He also asks what we have learnt from this body of thought, and what progress is still to be made.

The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy for decades, remarkable for its range and clarity, this is a landmark work.

Critics Review

  • A cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit . . . The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations

    Sunday Times
  • Grayling has written a masterful and often entertaining chronicle of the epic intellectual journey we humans have taken, in different periods, countries and cultures, to understand ourselves, our world, and how we ought to live. An extraordinary accomplishment that transcends the usual bounds of academic specialization

    Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University
  • Accurately offers itself as a successor to [Bertrand] Russell’s classic survey . . . No other popular survey possesses this range . . . The History of Philosophy isn’t just worth buying; it’s worth scribbling in and dog-earing. For a work of scholarship, there can be no higher praise.

    Washington Post
  • He’s more historically-minded than Russell, less dogmatic than Dawkins and less in thrall to the charms of his own fluency than Hitchens

    Prospect on The Challenge of Things
  • Undeniably thought-provoking

  • Grayling is particularly good at illuminating the knottiness of moral discourse

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