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Socrates to Sartre and Beyond: A History of Philosophy with Free Philosophy Powerweb

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Presenting a historically organized introduction to philosophy, this work provides the student with a working knowledge of the development of Western philosophy. It covers various periods of philosophy, lists philosophers alphabetically and chronologically on the end-papers, and features a glossary of key concepts.


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Presenting a historically organized introduction to philosophy, this work provides the student with a working knowledge of the development of Western philosophy. It covers various periods of philosophy, lists philosophers alphabetically and chronologically on the end-papers, and features a glossary of key concepts.

30 review for Socrates to Sartre and Beyond: A History of Philosophy with Free Philosophy Powerweb

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maica

    A detailed and well-written exposition of selected philosophies in the Western Tradition. Not very comprehensive though, but a recommended primer to some of the major names and themes in philosophy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bob Nichols

    This is the best overview of western philosophers I've come across. The summaries are clear and concise; they hit all of the major themes; and they stay true to each philosopher's body of thought, without Stumpf interjecting his "own critical evaluation." The book's subtitle is "A History of Philosophy," but the book is only about philosophy in the West. That point is acknowledged by Stumpf in his preface to the first edition. In that preface, Stumpf ties the thought of subsequent philosophers t This is the best overview of western philosophers I've come across. The summaries are clear and concise; they hit all of the major themes; and they stay true to each philosopher's body of thought, without Stumpf interjecting his "own critical evaluation." The book's subtitle is "A History of Philosophy," but the book is only about philosophy in the West. That point is acknowledged by Stumpf in his preface to the first edition. In that preface, Stumpf ties the thought of subsequent philosophers to that of their predecessors. "Because a philosopher writes with a knowledge of what his predecessors have thought," Stumpf writes, "his own work is at once a criticism of earlier thought and a creative contribution at the growing edge of philosophy." In making this observation, Stumpf presumably sees a developmental whole to Western philosophical thought. To what extent that is true can be debated. It could be that many philosophical thinkers bumped, independently, into common themes and common responses to such themes because that is what reality dictates. For example, does the Utilitarian focus on pleasure and pain derive from what the Epicureans thought, or because pleasure and pain are the common experience of humankind. A value in not limiting "a history of philosophy" to the West is to see how non-Western thinkers have looked at the more universal philosophical themes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Great history of philosophy reference book. The best text I ever bought after college. Love the quick reference guide on the inside covers--front list philosophers alphabetically, back is chronologic. It was a splurge, but we're surprised with how often we reach for it. Great history of philosophy reference book. The best text I ever bought after college. Love the quick reference guide on the inside covers--front list philosophers alphabetically, back is chronologic. It was a splurge, but we're surprised with how often we reach for it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Feng Ouyang

    This book provides an accessible, yet comprehensive overview of the West history of philosophy up to the 1960s. In addition to outlining the views and contributions of individual philosophers or schools of philosophers, the author also provides some comments on the relevant background information and contrasts among various philosophers. It is a good introduction to the West history of philosophy. On the other hand, many descriptions of philosophical positions seem to be repeats of the philosophe This book provides an accessible, yet comprehensive overview of the West history of philosophy up to the 1960s. In addition to outlining the views and contributions of individual philosophers or schools of philosophers, the author also provides some comments on the relevant background information and contrasts among various philosophers. It is a good introduction to the West history of philosophy. On the other hand, many descriptions of philosophical positions seem to be repeats of the philosopher’s words. Since different philosophers use different terminologies and different framework, such treatment results in difficulties in understanding the essence of philosophical schools. However, given the volume and scope of the work, such a shortcut is probably inevitable. The book does provide an extensive list of bibliography for further exploration. Philosophy started as early as human history as recorded by literature. In the classical Greek era, philosophy was the consummation of academic endeavors. All Greek schools address problems about the nature of the world, ration, and human nature. In the Medieval age, philosophy is entwined with theology. The focus was the proof of God’s existence and the way the world comes to exist and is understood, which the help of God. With Renaissance and the industrial revolution, philosophy becomes just one of the many intellectual subjects. Philosophers also tend to focus on specific questions instead of proposing overarching worldviews. Most philosophers in this era are influenced by the scientific methods of acquiring knowledge. They either emphasize on one portion of the scientific methods (experiences or reasoning) or tries to set up a more fundamental framework to organize knowledge (based on axioms and basic logical rules). Other philosophers try to analyze morality and society with more scientific ways, resting their theories on some first principles. The following is a summary of the various questions in philosopher, reproduced from the previous sections. 1 Theory of the World (Metaphysics) The metaphysics discuss the following questions. • What are is the world made of and how does the world work? o Some think the world is made of some basic building blocks. Pre-Socrates philosophers think the world is made of water, air, fire, or other elements. The atomists, represented by Democritus, envision atoms as the constant, although invisible, building block. Such a view was carried by later philosophers such as Epicurus. Later on, Leibniz introduces “nomad” as the building block. It is pure energy. o Others think the building blocks are something more abstract. Pythagoras thinks mathematics is the underlying existence. Aristotle’s essence is an abstract property embedded in the objects. Hegel thinks the world is the result of the dialectic processes that start from the absolute ideal and end with the same thing. The process involves various concepts and properties playing as themes and anti-themes. Therefore, the essence of the world is ideas. o Most of these philosophers think the diversity and change of the world are caused by the constant motion of the building blocks. They cannot provide any concrete description of such motion, which encompass not only mechanical motion but other interactions and changes. o After the industrial revolution, mechanical view of the universe gains some popularity, especially among both the empiricists and rationalists (Hobbes and Spinoza). o Bergson and Whitehead challenge the scientific view. They think the world is more interconnected and driven by some “conscious-like” force, instead of the scientific laws. • What is the structure of the world? o Many philosophers believe the world has hierarchies. Commonly, the hierarchy goes from inorganic objects to animals and to human (Aristotle, St. Anselm, and St. Aquinas). Hobbes further adds the political institutions as a layer. o The Neoplatonism thinks the hierarchy is determined by the distance to God. Those closer to God gets more emanation. • Are there existences outside of the world? o Plato believes there is another, more perfect world consisting of the forms. Our real world is an imperfect reflection of the ideal world. o Hegel considers the absolute ideals as the ultimate existence, which projects the world we live in. o Of course, many philosophers think there is a God living outside of the world, and God creates or even governs the world. o Marx rejects any existence beyond the physical world. He is a pure materialist. Stoics, at a much earlier time, also holds such belief. 2 Theory of Knowledge The theory of knowledge can be further divided into a few questions. • How is knowledge related to reality? o One view is that knowledge is related to reality but is not the same. Plato thinks there are two worlds: the ideal and the real. Knowledge is about the ideal world, of which the real world is a poor reflection. Kant takes the other view. He thinks that what people can understand is the real world through a tinted glass, i.e., distorted by prior judgments. Hagel thinks both reality and knowledge come from a third entity: the absolute ideal. o The other view is there is no definite knowledge since reality cannot serve as an anchor. The sophists have this view because they try to challenge any statement of knowledge on an argumentative basis. Skeptics do not deny the existence of truth. However, they do not think it is just a mental exercise because human behaviors are guided not by knowledge but by intuition. • How does a man get knowledge? o Plato believes man has innate ability to obtain knowledge. However, he needs to be guided out of the cave and see the light. o Socrates advocates dialectic practices (examining thought process by questioning) is the way to obtain knowledge. o The Neoplatonism (Plotinus) invokes God as emanating lights that enable man to gain knowledge. Such a view is taken by some later philosophers such as St. Augustine. o Hegel thinks knowledge is provided by the absolute ideal. • How is the thinking process (logical deductions and abstraction) related to sensory inputs? o Aristotle started the study of logic, which includes hierarchical categories and syllogism (deduction process). Such a framework is used by many philosophers afterward to organize the human thought process. o Furthermore, Aristotle thinks the logic structure is embedded in the real world, not a human invention. Such a view is also taken by the exaggerated realists. o The empiricists (Locke, Berkeley, and Hume) think only sensory inputs are meaningful. They question even the most basic thinking rules such as logic and causality, as well as any notions that cannot be verified, such as an object exists even when nobody is sensing it. On the other hand, the rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) consider thinking as the only reliable source of knowledge. In their view, thinking is a system of deductions based on some axioms. Sensory input, according to the rationalists, is unreliable and cannot serve as bases of thinking. o Kant seeks a compromise and thinks knowledge is a combination of sensory inputs and prior judgments, which consists of basic thinking rules. Because both of the bases are not reliable, we cannot know the true real world. • Knowledge Theories Influenced by Science o The scientific method of seeking knowledge consists of a few elements: facts based on observations, logical deductions, and inductions (abstraction and generalization), and verification of conclusions by experiments. Philosophical views of the 19th century and later are strongly influenced by such method. o Bacon started the scientific tradition by claiming that all previous philosophical conclusions can be questioned based on verification and inquiry. Hobbes further models the mind as a machine driven by sensory inputs. o Positivism (Comte) limits the scope of knowledge to that of science: only conclusions that can be verified. Therefore, traditional philosophical topics such as “essence” and “purpose” are excluded. Pragmatism (Sanders, James, and Dewey) also limits the scope of knowledge to those that can impact behavior, excluding “purely academic” discussions. Often, being actionable and being verifiable are closely related. Dewey further proposes that people gain knowledge as an active participator of nature. Namely, knowledge and reality are both shaped by human actions. o The analytic philosophy takes an even narrower scope. They focus on clarifying and limiting language use in philosophical research and try to model the language after mathematics and logic. 3 Theory of Ethics (Morality) • How to set a moral standard that governs individual behavior? o The Greek philosophers think moral standards are based on reasons. Each person has a purpose, and being moral is fulfilling one’s purpose (Socrates and Aristotle). Being moral is also maintaining harmony between different parts of humanity (Plato). o Many consider seeking happiness (individual and collective) as the ultimate moral goal (Epicurus, At. Augustine and Aquinas). Such a view is generalized by Locke and utilitarianism (Bentham and Mill) to be seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It is recognized that there are different types and levels of happiness, while many believe God provides the ultimate one. o Kant sets up a rational moral standard so it can be universal. On the contrary, Existentialism (Kierkegaard, Jaspers, and Sartre) thinks the moral standard is more of a personal choice. o Dewey points out another component of morality: mapping of the impulse to behavior. Impulse is human nature and unchangeable. However, our culture and education determine how we behave under the same impulse. o Nietzsche says there are two types of moral standard, one for the masters and one for the weaker. The master “superman” strives for a perfect combination of reason and passion. The weaker are taught harmony and peace, as contained in Christianity. • Is there a soul? o The concept of soul existed before Socrates. However, the clearer discourse of soul and body started in the classical Greek philosophy. Socrates’ soul refers to a human’s innate ability to think and reason. Plato thinks the man is born with a soul, which contains the reason (thinking), spirit (execution), and appetite (impulses). Morality has to do with the tension between the soul and the body, where the body tries to pull the soul away from reason. Aristotle considers the soul as the source of human knowledge. He further thinks plants, animals, and human all have souls, albeit of different types. Unlike Plato, Aristotle’s souls are inseparable from the bodies, just as his essence is inseparable from the objects. Furthermore, classical Greeks use soul as a metaphor to describe the guiding force in other entities such as society. o Later philosophers consider the soul as the entity for knowledge and thinking (St. Augustine, Aquinas, the rationalists, o Souls are also connected to God and mark human’s place in the world hierarchy (Aquinas). • Does human have free will? o Most ethic theories assume people have free will; otherwise, there is no point discussing moral issues. o However, there are people who question free will. According to them, the human mind works in a predetermined way like a machine (Leibniz and Hobbes). o Kant thinks free will is one of the postulates for moral discussion. In other words, it may or may not exist. The pragmatics also holds an agnostic view concerning free will, which they think is a convenient framework to think about human behaviors and human emotions such as regret and judgment. 4 Theory of Society (Politics) • Society is the Extension of Man o The Classical Greek philosophers consider society is an extension of man: the government is like the head and mind, while the mass is like body (Plato, Aristotle) • Society is Organized to Optimize Collective Happiness o Aristotle thinks society is to maximize people’s happiness. Such views are also held by Epicurus. o Utilitarianism (Bentham and Miller) thinks the state is the result of the calculation of happiness and pain. They even attempt to arrive at quantitative computations concerning law and punishment. o Comte tried to introduce scientific methods to study society, relying on facts about human nature. It is not clear what his conclusions are. • Society is Based on Power, Not Justice o Machiavelli thinks corruption is human nature. So there is no point for justice and moral standards. o Nietzsche has a similar view. He thinks “Superman,” who follows a different moral standard than the mass, should rule the society. • Society is Under God o St. Augustine thinks society is based on the idea of justice, which is given by God. Therefore, the societal principles are independent of culture. Aquinas also thinks the church is a higher institute than the state. • A state is a Social Contract o Hobbes thinks the state is the product of a social contract between citizens, who give up their rights for safety and security. Therefore, the state legitimately holds all the rights. o Locke thinks the state is the result of the social contract between citizens and state. The citizens transfer only a limited set of rights to the state. Therefore, the state has limited rights. 5 Theory of God (Theology) In these discussions, God may mean different things to different people. In general, God is an existence outside of our world. He may be the creator and ultimate ruler. Note that discussions here do not concern about God’s teachings and his laws. Namely, we are not talking about a personalized God like that in Christianity. • Proving the Existence of God o One way to prove God’s existence is the terminator of seemingly infinite progressions. God is the first cause (St. Augustine) and the most perfect, beautiful, etc. (St. Anselm). o Luther thinks God cannot be proven or understood by reason or logic. We rely on personal experiences and love to know God. o Descartes is the opposite. He derives God from pure reasoning. He argues we won’t have the idea of perfection and absolute beauty if their representation does not exist. And such representation is God. o Spinoza thinks God is the whole universe and unifies the latter. o The pragmatists (James) thinks God has practical value, although it cannot be proven. • God as the Perfection and Reason o Plato thinks the essence of the world is ideal and Demiurge. They represent perfect reason and permanence. Ideal and Demiurge play the role of God in Plato’s world view. • God as the Creator o The Neoplatonism (Plotinus) thinks God is the ultimate existence and creator of everything. God does not have a will, he just emits lights. St Augustine also thinks God is the creator, but out of his free will. o Leibniz points out that God’s creation is constrained by logic. o Stoicism thinks God is the ultimate force that drives the world. • God as the Knowledge Provider o The Neoplatonism and St. Augustine think God enables knowledge by shining light to the world so that the human mind can understand the reality. • God Provides Ultimate Happiness o There are various levels of happiness, while the highest level is from getting close to God (existentialism). 6 Theory of History St. Augustine thinks that history is authored by God. It represents the interaction between two types of people: those who love God (church) and those who love the world (state). Hegel view history evolution as a dialectic process, driven by collective ideals and their interactions. The key is that history is not driven by incidents, but follows its internal law. Marx view history as a dialectic process between various material elements, especially the classes. Class struggle is shaped in turn by the dialectic process between factors of production and relations of production, and between economic structure and social institutions (superstructure).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Wyatt

    As a general textbook on Western philosophy, a good overview. Depth is sacrificed to cover so many schools of thought. There are some chapters on individuals, when appropriate. I would use this text with undergraduates or some advanced high school students for a basic introductory course in Western philosophy. It is not intended to replace reading the major works.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This book has helped me survive my first two university Philosophy courses. The book contains fairly short sections on various philosophers as well as comprehensive explanations of their philosophies and lives. It is a great supplement to the primary sources.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sonny Sweatt

    i liked it...but, most people, i don't think, would enjoy this book...it was a textbook that i really enjoyed...so, there you have it... stumpf does a pretty good job of summarizing a LOT of thought into a fairly easy to read history... i liked it...but, most people, i don't think, would enjoy this book...it was a textbook that i really enjoyed...so, there you have it... stumpf does a pretty good job of summarizing a LOT of thought into a fairly easy to read history...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Austin Farrell

    Started skipping through once I got to the chapter concerning analytic philosophy. Got to Heidegger and quit since I've had my fill of existentialism for one lifetime. Mainly wanted to read this for the history up to the 20th century. A useful book if you're interested in primary ideas of past philosophers and how they link together. It shows the timeless value of ideas and how they can influence across generations. Though it was informative, I wish I had known about Bertrand Russell's history o Started skipping through once I got to the chapter concerning analytic philosophy. Got to Heidegger and quit since I've had my fill of existentialism for one lifetime. Mainly wanted to read this for the history up to the 20th century. A useful book if you're interested in primary ideas of past philosophers and how they link together. It shows the timeless value of ideas and how they can influence across generations. Though it was informative, I wish I had known about Bertrand Russell's history of philosophy book. I feel like he would've been able to give a clearer and more elaborate (still simplified) explanation of certain ideas. Maybe I will read that one when I want to reproach some of these philosophers ideas. Nonetheless, a good starting point for introductory philosophy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dahoo Hurst

    Only read parts of that, which is about Kant. Very easy to understand.

  10. 5 out of 5

    KINUTHIA MICHAEL

    I would like to learn more about the history of Philosophy and I think this is the way to go.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Blaine Welgraven

    A sometimes tedious—but consistently worthwhile—read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    JE Rosal

    its very interesting and comprehensive at the same time

  13. 5 out of 5

    Javan

    wisdom

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Such a helpful book for clear summaries of philosophies and their historical, cultural, and ideological contexts. And it really does cover Socrates to Sartre, as the title says, which is convenient to have all in one trim volume. I was introduced to this book at NSA, but it is proving its worth again. My next grad school adventure is a thorough tour of imagination's role in Hume, and as I have a more natural bent toward poetry rather than philosophy, I will be clinging to Stumpf's hand through t Such a helpful book for clear summaries of philosophies and their historical, cultural, and ideological contexts. And it really does cover Socrates to Sartre, as the title says, which is convenient to have all in one trim volume. I was introduced to this book at NSA, but it is proving its worth again. My next grad school adventure is a thorough tour of imagination's role in Hume, and as I have a more natural bent toward poetry rather than philosophy, I will be clinging to Stumpf's hand through the particularly darker caves.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    One of the best nonfiction books I've read or owned. This proved very helpful when taking college courses in logic and philosophy. It's basically an A to Z guide to great philosophers throughout human history and their ideas that helped shape human knowledge and science. Bonus: it's organized chronologically. One of the best nonfiction books I've read or owned. This proved very helpful when taking college courses in logic and philosophy. It's basically an A to Z guide to great philosophers throughout human history and their ideas that helped shape human knowledge and science. Bonus: it's organized chronologically.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Key.of.G

    I have the paperback version but since they haven't the picture of that yet, I'm sticking to this one to help me keep track of my stuff. I got this back when I took up philosophy. I still keep it now along with my notes. They actually have their own bag. I have the paperback version but since they haven't the picture of that yet, I'm sticking to this one to help me keep track of my stuff. I got this back when I took up philosophy. I still keep it now along with my notes. They actually have their own bag.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brooks Kohler

    I purchased this book for my first philosophy course and carried it with me all through college, referring to it when I had moments of doubt and needed clarity. I think it is one of the best books on philosophy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nick Smith

    This book is great to take you through the entire history of philosophy. Not only is it a great teacher, but also it serves as a comprehensive reference guide to particular philosophers, including explanations of the context within which they were writing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kennethllait

    i dont know

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Vasicek

    The one I read was Socrates to Sartre: A history of Philosophy. Third edition. Not the Beyond book. It was interesting but Philosophers are a strange group of people.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maide

    it is good

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrey Pelinio

    I want to read

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wilson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex Whaley

  25. 5 out of 5

    Abraham Ambrocio

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eray Çelik

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Miles

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Musfiq Sajib

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