Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud (Anglais) Broché – 26 septembre 2006
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
“A superior specimen, with numerous interesting factoids...thought-provoking short essays.” (John Derbyshire, New York Sun)
“A masterpiece of historical writing.” (John Gray, Professor of European Thought, London School of Economics, New Statesman)
“[An] extraordinary new book....This is the history of ‘ideas’ as it has never been presented before.” (Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph (London))
Présentation de l'éditeur
Peter Watson's hugely ambitious and stimulating history of ideas from deep antiquity to the present day—from the invention of writing, mathematics, science, and philosophy to the rise of such concepts as the law, sacrifice, democracy, and the soul—offers an illuminated path to a greater understanding of our world and ourselves.
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Commentaires en ligne
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I would recommend Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy more highly.
Contrary to some recent reviewers I find this to be a non-academic, journalistic account of important ideas in human history (as opposed to a deep-thinking academic account). An author of such a book will have some choice of what to include and not to include. I might not agree with all the author's choices, but that is actually a good thing. In other words, the book surprised me on a number of occasions. Since the author is not an academic he is not mentally bound with a specific way of presenting the ideas. On a slightly negative note, it is clear that the author in many cases is just adding material from other sources that he is not familiar with. This is not good, but it would be inhuman to expect the author to be familiar with all the material between the fire and psychoanalysis.
Also contrary to some recent reviews, the book spends time talking about Arabic, Indian and Chinese contributions. Having said that, the book is written from the Western tradition. Since the Western culture that has managed to stay on top for 2,000 years, I find this a perfectly fine choice: Give credit where credit is due, but stick with a Western perspective.
Readers with some knowledge of history (and geography) will find this book more valuable. If you for instance are not already familiar with the Muslim rule in Spain, that chapter will be less pleasant to read. So you need some good high school education. If you want a good education, irrespective of your age, you should read this book with a pencil in hand.
In fact if you only want to read one book on the topic, this is probably the best choice too. Much more readable than a textbook.
The book ends with Freud, because the author has another book on the 20th century.