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Publisher's Summary

The product of 11 years of research, The Story of Philosophy is an endlessly inspiring and instructive chronicle of the world’s greatest thinkers, from Socrates to Santayana. Written with exacting and scrupulous scholarship, it was designed both to command the respect of educators and to capture the interest of the layman.
Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.
Will Durant (1885-1981) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He spent over 50 years writing his critically acclaimed 11-volume series The Story of Civilization. A champion of human-rights issues such as social reform and the brotherhood of man long before they were popular, he continues to educate and entertain readers and listeners worldwide through his writings.
©1926 Will Durant (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“A delight.” ( New York Times)
“Easily the most engaging writer of Western intellectual history in the English language, Will Durant breathes life into philosophers and their ideas. He is colorful, witty, and above all, informative.” ( review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jeff on 04-14-12


I dont leave home without it. Its the only book that has permanent status on my Ipod. For me its that good. Will Durants amazing writing takes on philosophy, and gets read by Grover Gardner. That somehow creates a transcendent experience for me. Its become a kind of Lynus blanket. I just love it.

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36 of 36 people found this review helpful

By ESK on 01-25-13

Fantastic and insightful book

Solid listen and masterly narration! I particularly enjoyed the section on Spinoza.
The SoP gives an overview of the lives and works of the most renowned philosophers, and analyzes their ideas in terms of social, political, religious and psychological contexts.
The book is made up of the following chapters:
1. Plato (as well as analysis of Socrates’ life and teaching)
2. Aristotle
3. Francis Bacon
4. Baruch Spinoza (also reference to Descartes)
5. Voltaire
6. Immanuel Kant (a brief look at Locke, Rousseau and a note on Hegel)
7. Arthur Schopenhauer
8. Herbert Spencer (and Darwinism)
9. Friedrich Nietzsche (N. and Wagner)
10. Henri Bergson
11. Benedetto Croce
12. Bertrand Russell
13. George Santayana
14. William James
15. John Dewey
Here’s an inspiring quotation from the SoP. ‘Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art. It arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement. Philosophy is a hypothetical interpretation of the unknown or of the inexactly known ; it is the front trench in the siege of truth.’

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54 of 55 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Jeremy on 04-08-11

Motley Bunch of Philosophers!

These three volumes are a very pleasant easy ride through the philosophies of Plato & Aristotle (in detail), and then Bacon, Spinoza, Voltaire, Schopenhauer, Spencer, Nietzsche and on into 'contemporary' i.e. early 20th century European (Bergson, Croce and Russell) and US philosophers (James & Dewey).

The thing is they are a very odd selection to choose from, and not necessarily the key figures who have shaped Western thinking! However, it is an interesting journey, well told... and well read with authoritative american easiness.

I found myself drifting into a reverie during some bits, and it didn't seem to matter. The book is not a concise set of factoids, but a gentle swim through the enlightenment in some slightly strange company!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

By Mr. R. D. Cox on 03-03-11

Learn about the greats - a little dry

This is a great way to learn about the greats

Written before the 2nd world war - but can predict many modern society problems

Voice is dry and writing too equivocal in places - but a classic

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By James on 10-15-15

I am now, finally, fascinated by philosophy.

I loved this audiobook. It is obviously a well-written piece to begin with, and the narration was spot-on.

I am now, finally, fascinated by philosophy, and will continue to pursue the subject happily and eagerly thanks to the foundation and motivation this book has provided.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Amazon Customer on 04-05-17

Fantastic Introduction To Philosophy

The read kept me intrigued and entertained for the entire 39 hours! Well worth it

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