An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny

By Anthony Kenny

This illustrated variation of Sir Anthony Kenny’s acclaimed survey of Western philosophy bargains the main concise and compelling tale of the whole improvement of philosophy available.

Spanning 2,500 years of concept, An Illustrated short background of Western Philosophy offers crucial insurance of the main influential philosophers of the Western international, between them Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein.

Replete with over 60 illustrations - starting from Dufresnoy’s The loss of life of Socrates, via to the identify web page of Thomas More’s Utopia, photographs of Hobbes and Rousseau, photos of Charles Darwin and Bertrand Russell, Freud’s personal caricature of the Ego and the identity, and Wittgenstein’s Austrian army identification card - this lucid and masterful paintings is perfect for someone with an curiosity in Western concept.

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But Euthyphro has no doubts, and regards 28 AIBC02 28 22/03/2006, 10:37 AM the athens of socrates his action as the performance of a religious duty. The case provides the setting for a discussion between Socrates and Euthyphro on the relation between religion and morality. The nature of piety, or holiness, is of keen interest to Socrates who is himself about to stand trial on a charge of impiety. So he asks Euthyphro to tell him the nature of piety and impiety. Piety, replies Euthyphro, is doing as I am doing, prosecuting crime; and if you think I should not take my father to court, remember that the supreme god Zeus punished his own father, Cronos.

When asked if there was anyone wiser than Socrates, a priestess replied that there was no one. Socrates professed to be puzzled by this oracle, and questioned, one after another, politicians, poets, and experts claiming to possess wisdom of various kinds. None of them were able to defend their reputation against his crossquestioning, and Socrates concluded that the oracle was correct in that he alone realized that his own wisdom was worth nothing. It was in matters of morality that it was most important to pursue genuine knowledge and to expose false pretensions.

Such may be the case with Euthyphro’s own action of prosecuting his father. But let us waive this, and amend the definition so that it runs: what all the gods love is holy, and what all the gods hate is unholy. A further question arises: do the gods love what is holy because it is holy, or is it holy because the gods love it? In order to get Euthyphro to grasp the sense of this question, Socrates offers a number of examples which turn on points of Greek grammar. His point could be made in English by saying that in a criminal case, ‘the accused’ is so called because someone accuses him; it is not that people accuse him because he is the accused.

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