Bertrand Russell’s “A History of Western Philosophy”

Bertrand Russell’s “A History of Western Philosophy” should be entitled as “Rants about Western Philosophy”. The author loves to say that he does not agree, but does not say why. He points out that an argument is flawed even before he has introduced the argument. His tone goes completely apoplectic in the chapter on Friedrich Nietzsche. He discusses St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles in substantial detail, but omits the Summa Theologica. He does not include Heidegger and Kierkegaard (!). He seems confused about his genre; he does not appear to know whether he is writing history, criticism, or an introduction to the subject. But it’s still fun to read. Give it a chance.

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