A Little History of Philosophy
By Nigel Warburton
Review by Holly (PPE)
Philosophy can seem like an intimidating subject to dip into – and before I read this book my idea of reading philosophy involved long, boring, old-fashioned texts about issues so obscure they seemed irrelevant to everyday life. But this book convinced me that philosophy can be accessible and have a huge impact on how we live our lives. Not only does it summarise the ideas of two thousand years of philosophers from the Ancient Greeks through to the modern day, it also encourages you, the reader, to ask questions. Because philosophy is not about learning and repeating the ideas of others, it is about thinking, questioning and coming to your own conclusion.
Warburton also makes it clear that philosophy is not an abstract concept but hugely influenced by, and influential on, our everyday lives. He explains how Hobbes’ wish for a strong state came from his fear of the anarchy of the English Civil War, and how the Nazis distorted the philosophy of Nietzsche as justification for their ideas of a “master race”.
Before you make a judgement about philosophy, try this book. By briefly examining a wide range of subjects it gives you the chance to find out what issues in particular interest you. And even if it’s the only philosophy you will ever read, it is valuable as it gives you an insight into the powerful thinkers whose ideas have shaped human history.
A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton