A History of Philosophy (Copleston)

A History of Philosophy (Copleston)

A History of Philosophy is an eleven-volume history of Western philosophy, written by English Jesuit priest Frederick Charles Copleston, SJ.

Copleston's History provides extensive coverage of Western philosophy from the Pre-Socratics through Dewey, Russell, Moore, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. The first nine volumes, originally published between 1946 and 1974, were written for Catholic seminary students with the goal "of supplying Catholic ecclesiastical seminaries with a work that should be somewhat more detailed and of wider scope than the textbooks, commonly in use, and which at the same time should endeavor to exhibit the logical development and interconnection of philosophical systems." A tenth volume was added in 1986, and the eleventh is actually a collection of essays, which appeared in 1956 as "Contemporary Philosophy".Throughout the eleven volumes, Copleston's Roman Catholic (Thomist) point of view is never hidden. All the same, it seems generally accepted that Copleston's treatment is fair and complete, even for philosophical positions that he does not support. Copleston's work has arguably come to represent the finest and most complete summary of Western philosophy now available. One caveat for readers of a lesser erudition than Copleston himself is that most quotes from original works (in Greek, Latin, German, and French) are left untranslated.

ummary of contents

The following is a summary of contents (not a full table of contents) for the eleven volumes:

Volume 1: Greece and Rome

* Pre-Socratic philosophy
* The Socratic period
* Plato
* Aristotle
* Post-Aristotelian philosophy

Volume 2: Augustine to Scotus

* Pre-mediaeval Influences (including St. Augustine)
* The Carolingian Renaissance
* The Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Centuries
* Islamic and Jewish Philosophy
* The Thirteenth Century (including St. Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus)

Volume 3: Ockham to Suarez

* The Fourteenth Century (including William of Ockham)
* Philosophy of the Renaissance (including Francis Bacon)
* Scholasticism of the Renaissance (including Francisco Suárez)

Volume 4: Descartes to Leibniz

* René Descartes
* Blaise Pascal
* Baruch Spinoza
* Gottfried Leibniz

Volume 5: Hobbes to Hume

* Thomas Hobbes
* John Locke
* Isaac Newton
* George Berkeley
* David Hume

Volume 6: Wolff to Kant

* The French Enlightenment (including Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
* The German Enlightenment
* The Rise of the History of Philosophy (including Giambattista Vico and Voltaire)
* Immanuel Kant

Volume 7: Fichte to Nietzsche

* Johann Gottlieb Fichte
* Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling
* Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
* Arthur Schopenhauer
* Karl Marx
* Søren Kierkegaard
* Friedrich Nietzsche

Volume 8: Bentham to Russell

* British Empiricism (including John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer)
* The Idealist Movement in Great Britain (including Francis Herbert Bradley and Bernard Bosanquet)
* Idealism in America (including Josiah Royce)
* The Pragmatist Movement (including Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey)
* The Revolt Against Idealism (including George Edward Moore and Bertrand Russell)

Volume 9: Maine de Biran to Sartre

* From the French Revolution to Auguste Comte (including Maine de Biran)
* From August Comte to Henri Bergson
* From Henri Bergson to Jean-Paul Sartre (including Maurice Merleau-Ponty)

Volume 10: Russian Philosophy

* Ivan Kireevsky, Peter Lavrov, and other Russian philosophers
* Philosophy in Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
* Religion and Philosophy: Vladimir Solovyov
* Plekhanov, Bogdanov, Lenin and Marxism
* Nikolai Berdyaev and other philosophers in exile

Volume 11: Logical Positivism and Existentialism

Included as Volume 11 in the Continuum edition, this is actually a collection of essays, which appeared in 1956 as "Contemporary Philosophy". It covers Logical Positivism and Existentialism.


cite book
last = Copleston
first = Frederick
authorlink = Frederick Copleston
coauthors =
title = A History of Philosophy
publisher = Continuum
date = 1946-1975
location = Great Britain
url =
doi =
isbn = 0-8264-6948-5

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