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From Socrates to Sartre: The Philosophic Quest

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  588 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A challenging new look at the great thinkers whose ides have shaped our civilization

From Socrates to Sartre
presents a rousing and readable introduction to the lives, and times of the great philosophers. This thought-provoking book takes us from the inception of Western society in Plato’s Athens to today when the commanding power of Marxism has captured one third of the wo
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Paperback, 426 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Bantam (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,432)
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Ian Klappenskoff
WRITTEN PENDING A REVIEW:

Sometimes it's easier to write a song than to read (and understand) Philosophy...

The Philosophers’ Song

Though Plato drank lots of expensive red wine
He could faithfully draw a Divided Line,
Work a Tripartite Soul into his story
And turn a Cave into an Allegory.

René Descartes knew when it was time to drink
He could not be, unless he was fit to think
Skepticism led to Self-Evident Truth
And a World with Mechanical Attributes.

Young David Hume was a well-meaning critter
The Empiri
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Edward C.
So, you want to have a working understanding of Western philosophy, but you don't have the time or energy to read everything that's come out since Plato? Check this book out. Thorough without being overwhelming, the author walks the reader along as though by the hand: difficult concepts are well explained and some light-hearted passages reveal that even philosophers are human.
Linda
Thelma Lavine died about a week ago, and I realize that this book by one of my favorite professors was not included on my Goodreads list. Both her inspiring philosophy of lit class that I took at GW and her pbs series about this book are marked indelibly in my memory. A great teacher has left our midst but not our hearts and minds.
Nahed.E
استعنت بهذا الكتاب في دراستي وقد استفدت منه كثيراً
خاصة في معالجته لفكرة العلية عند ديفيد هيوم
وأيضاً تحليله لسارتر
قيمته لــ 5 نجمات للمعلومات المميزة التي وردت به
وكذلك لاسلوب العرض المميز غير الملل علي الإطلاق
Rodrigo
I've never read a book that synthesizes so well the different philosophic currents that have existed throughout the ages, and somehow manages to keep them valid from a contemporary point of view at the same time. Thanks to that, I now understand Hume and Hegel much better than I did before. There's also this feeling of urgency that can be perceived as you read, this constant reminder that there's plenty of basis for new philosophies to be born, and that there's even an urgent need for them, sinc ...more
John
A great reference for beginners in philosophic inquiry.
It was very readable and filled with information and clarity. The primary philosophers addressed here are Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, Marx and Sartre. However the contemporaries of those just mentioned are presented with great detail as well.

It is a book that should be read in high school. My opinion is that philosophy should be mandatory cirriculum to Juniors and/or Seniors, but I digress, this book certainly educated me on the pervading
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§--
A good survey, though I think I'm getting tired of surveys. Struggles, as all surveys do, with telling the truth concisely, erring on the side of concision rather than on the side of accuracy. For example, there's one chapter on philosophy from Aristotle to Decartes, a span of nearly 2000 years.

I heard that she died earlier this year. R.I.P.
Ramy Youssef
As the name shows. It is a Philosophic Quest. In case this will be your first philosophical book, then I will recommend to read, Sophie's World first.
Owaahh
Everything you would expect from a compilation of some of the greatest thoughts about almost everything ever recorded...so far.
Steven P.R.
This book examines the philosophical ideas of various philosophers from Ancient Greece up to the present. It amazingly elucidates the concepts and ideas of such philosophers as David Hume and Rene Descartes such that they are easy to grasp and understand. What I particularly liked was how each chapter was broken down into sections which made their ideas more manageable to digest.

Overall, this is a stunning book if you're interested in learning philosophy.
Joseph
I am fairly new to philosophy and I am not going to school for it. I am simply taking time out of my life for some personal enrichment. I am taking a few online courses as well. This book was terrific. Levine does an astounding job at picking and choosing which teachings of each philosopher are relevant enough to compile in one historical volume. Never does it feel like it's trying to be comprehensive, nor does it seem like it's tricking you into thinking so. The objective way Levine groups and ...more
Abdlmneem Alaa
أول تجربة مع الفلسفة و هتتكرر كتير و سعيد جداً إني فتحت الباب ده .
طريقة عرض المحتوى الأكاديمي اللي بيقدمه لافين عن عمالقة فى تاريخ الفلسفة البشرية تقدر تتفهم بكل المستويات العقلية و الثقافية ، مكنتش محتاج خلفية علمية عن اللي هقراه ، كل اللي هتحتاجه انك تسلم عقلك لعدد من العلامات الفلسفية بيناقشوا قضايا كبيرة تهمك فى حياتك .
كنت فى قمة السعادة لما قريت عن أفلاطون و ديكارت و لقيت طريقة تفكيري قريبة جداً منهم .
Altus
Excellent introduction. I read the other similar title in college by Stumpf. Though that is a great college text, the Lavine title is a better primer b/c majpr themes are picked and then connected together very well. One of my issues with philosophy was always reading up on someone and understanding it, but having difficulty connecting the dots, seeing and understanding the influence that guided the essays and seeing the historical timeline and evolution in thought. However, whith having read La ...more
Manohar Lal Solanki
It is a very nice book for those who are reading philosophy first time. This book not only comprises the ideas of various philosophies, but it also gives the idea about how the various philosophies came into existence. It also explains the historical back ground behind the philosophy.

From Socrates to Sartre, is a guide for those whose are willing to make debew in philosophy. Book also contains the extensive ideas of various philosophies with its critics also. This book has also tried to avoid t
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Rob
A nice introduction to, or review of, some of the great cornerstones of Western philosophy and the issues which they struggled with. I liked the selection of representative philosophers that the author selected and how she made each chapter logically flow into the next one. While not on a par with other general surveys of Western philosophy, such as Bertrand Russell's or Will Durant's, it's really not trying to be. The book is based on a PBS series from the 1980s and only seeks to be an entertai ...more
Scott Harris
One of two texts from my Philosophy class. The readings on Plato's Divided Line & David Hume alone make it worthwhile.
Mathews
You like philosophy you will love the book...
Mathieu Mathet
I grew to appreciate Socrates, and Plato
Martha Wilkins
There are six western philosophers discussed in this book and various others that were mentioned. I really liked how the author gave historical background on the time period that each of them lived in to help us see how their lives helped to shape their philosophies. After reading this book, I can easily say that I now know a little bit more about each philosopher than I did before. (I say that because some books you come out not remembering very much.)
Jennifer
Oct 26, 2007 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who want to understand philosophy but can't read the original texts!
Well, I decided to delvue into the world of philospohy. Although I am not what you would call a "deep thinker" but T.Z.Lavigne has done an excellent job of laying out the fundamentals in an easy to understand way. I have gotten through the main arguments of Socrates, Plato and Descartes. They all frustrated me at one point, but they cause me to think deeply as well. It's very good to read this to understand Western thinking and philosophy.
Chris Conklin
Good overview. Nothing too deep and nothing you could report from.
Chris
This is an excellent introduction to six of the most important philosophers. I especially liked the sections on Hume and Hegel. The fact that Marx is included and Kant is not except through explanation of Hegel is disappointing but understandable considering it was written during a time when a third of the globe considered itself Marxist.
Breck
I marked "finished" but there was actually a fourth of the book I haven't read. Reason being, some of the ideas of the newer philosophers became so difficult to understand, I found myself no longer enjoying the book. However, the first 3/4 of the book were amazing and gave me a broader understanding of ancient and modern philosophy.
Mustafa
Tedious read. Usually I really love philosophy, but this book was a huge disappointment.
Paul Walker
Amazing book. So much information about philosophy in a relatively short book. The author's ability to coalesce and challenge the various philosophical breakthroughs was impressive, and it really changed the way I think about things.
Thieluar
Mr. Hegel, you can go auto-eloping, oh, and Sartre, how much pot did you smoke in those years at Berlin? This book tells of six major philosophers. The author is quite biased but it makes a good intro.
ilya
برای شروع کتاب بدی نیست از اون دنیای سوفی خیلی بهتره به خدا. چه طوری ملت حرف های تکراری گردر را تحمل میکنند. جمع کنید بابا حال نداریم
Ashley
Forced to read as PHI 101 text book. I'm sure it's actually good for someone interested in the subject. It just wasn't for me.
Matt
Great book. I found it a little elementary. Great book as a comprehensive introduction to western philosophy.
Yuki
good overview of various well known European philosophers of the past. Took me a long time to read...
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