The History of Philosophy

The History of Philosophy

By A. C. Grayling
704 pages
February 2021

The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy to cover both Western and Eastern traditions, from one of the world's most eminent thinkers

The story of philosophy is an epic tale, spanning civilizations and continents. It explores some of the most creative minds in history. But not since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, published in 1945, has there been a comprehensive and entertaining single-volume history of this great, intellectual, world-shaping journey.

With characteristic clarity and elegance, A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the worldviews and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius, and Socrates through Christianity's capture of the European mind, from the Renaissance and Enlightenment on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre and, finally, philosophy today. Bringing together these many threads that all too often run parallel, he surveys in tandem the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world.

Perfect for students and revelatory to enthusiasts of philosophy, Grayling's narrative dramatizes the interchange between and within eras and epochs, asking what we have learned, but also what progress is still to be made. Destined to be his magnum opus, and astonishing in its range and accessibility, this is a landmark work.

“[A] highly readable narrative . . . lively. . . For a book that covers more than 100 individual thinkers spanning 2,500 years, the level of both detail and accuracy is admirable.” —Wall Street Journal
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.” —Michael Dirda, Washington Post

"Grayling offers a witty, learned, authoritative survey of philosophical thought in both the Western and Eastern traditions."—The New York Times Book Review

“Updating Bertrand Russell for the 21st century… a cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit… The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations.” – The Sunday Times (UK)
“Weighty and witty… Sharp and colloquial… Grayling exudes great love for his subject, and a desire that readers, philosophers or not, should love it too – a desire that is bound to be aptly realized.” – The Daily Telegraph (UK)