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The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,991 ratings  ·  209 reviews
To the complete novice, learning about philosophy can be a cause for dread-"I won't understand" is a common reaction to the mere mention of the subject, which is often assumed to be too complex and confusing for the average reader.

DK's The Philosophy Book will show that philosophy doesn't have to be a daunting subject. With the use of easy-to-follow graphics and artworks,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 17th 2011 by DK Publishing (first published October 4th 2010)
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Casey Nicholson The book is divided up into 100 or more philosophers with each of them receiving a 1-to-6 page entry. Thoreau has a one page entry that focuses on…moreThe book is divided up into 100 or more philosophers with each of them receiving a 1-to-6 page entry. Thoreau has a one page entry that focuses on civil disobedience.(less)

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Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A nice illustrated introduction to the idea of philosophy for students/young people/the still-to be-initiated into the rigors of the philosophical tradition.

It gives a comprehensive overview of global philosophical thought over the ages. Although pretty wide in scope, this book is basic in depth. It gives only a few paragraphs on each thinker.

Admittedly it does give a very nice introduction into each 'group' of thinkers, or rather, each period in history, from a global perspective. A very nice
Greg Watson
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a good philosophy reference. I'm unsure of when I started, but I read nearly all of it, minus some of the directory and glossary.

The book is divided into short summaries of philosophers. Each summary contains a bio and discussion of the philosopher's best-known works. There are useful illustrations and timelines.
It contains a good overview of foundational ideas such as Plato's forms. There are also helpful discussions of some of the more slippery modern thinkers.

It also contains a
I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5.

This book gives a great overview of philosophy. I was a philosophy major in college and this book covers many of the ideas I learned at school. However, my only grievance is that it leaves some ideas out like Kantian ethics. But other than that I highly recommend this to people who like philosophy or want to learn more about it.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compared to other philosophy books I've read, I think I like this one the best now. Not only does it feature way more philosophers, but it's diverse too. Always a plus in my book if they feature more than one female philosopher and this has several.

There are a lot of philosophers I like featured in the book, maybe all of them. They don't have Joseph Campbell or Marquis de Sade, but doesn't bother me because this has a ton of new philosophers I found that I want to read now.

Finally found a not
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this is the best semi-comprehensive philosophy book I've ever read. It includes all the prerequisites you need to know and nothing more. The explanations are so amazingly cogent, I could cry. I would buy this for every 13 year old and force them to read it A Clockwork Orange style.
The downside is that it's not as detailed as I would like (not in the sense that the author leaves things out as he explains certain concepts, he just doesn't touch on every work of all of the philosophers, he
Braeden Young
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of ideas from history's greatest thinkers.

This book give a simple comprehensive overview on the last 3000 years in philosophy. The authors take the reader through a chronological look at each philosopher using simple diagrams and illustrations and provides a broad spectrum of each individuals major contributions. The intuitive layout drives the reader from one page to the next, and makes for an experience that is rather hard to put down.

An absolute must read for anyone
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Man, if I had known this book existed, I would have purchased it 6 years ago! Then again, it probably wasn't published back then. Anyway....for those who would like to dip their little toes in the world of philosophy and get a broad overview (that's still chockfull of goodies), this is the book. I especially appreciated the color throughout. The books I read in college took themselves so seriously with pages of black-on-white tiny print. Bring on the color-coded sections!
Erin Boyington
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, history, essays
A brief, readable introduction to the thinkers and ideas that have shaped the world.

The profiles are organized by date, bookended by brief intros to each historical era; each person gets 1-3 pages describing major ideas and an abbreviated biography. There are also sidebars with quotations, charts outlining a thinker's logic, "see also" page references to related thinkers in the book, and boxes that put each person into his or her contextual background (telling us who influenced whom).

This book
Antariksa Akhmadi
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This book has done a good job explaining some of the most notable philosophers and their influential ideas. This is especially true in the entries of modern and contemporary period continental philosophers. Figures such as Heidegger and Derrida whose books are condemned as difficult to follow are explained here clearly without any shred of doubt left. The flowcharts, images and pictures are perhaps there to attract those who have no appetite with philosophy at all, but they are somewhat helpful ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
About as reactionary as you'd expect. Avoid.
Alex Riedel
Jun 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-have
First of all, I am entirely sorry for how many books I have added in the last week and a half. I wanted to read this book before I dove into anything else so that I can get a somewhat informed idea of the "major ideas" in the history of philosophy just because a lot books of philosophy are objections against another work of philosophy, or there will end up being many references to other philosophers, schools of philosophy, or eras of philosophy. That, and I also already had this on my shelves ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
The amount of information is rather scarce, but well packaged.

A few things I didn't understand:

1) Why not group the philosophers into schools/movements (more visibly)? It would make the information much easier to grasp, especially since this book is supposed to be an introduction to philosophy. 'Maps' with groups of opposing philosophies briefly explained for every time period would be great as quick summaries (eg stoicism/cynicism/epicureanism/skepticism or rationalism/empiricism). I feel like
Fred Hughes
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This book briefly looks at the key ideas of Philosophers over the past 3 to 5 thousand years.

Done in chronological order by philosopher it goes back and forth between various philosophers.

It is a great snap shot of them and details significant texts that they have written so you can explore them further.

Recommended introduction to this subject
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A good book that covers philosophy throughout the history in a very nice and neat way by using illustrations, however expected it to focus on philosophy more than the history of philosophy
Usama Albastaki
I cannot think of a better introduction and summary of philosophy than this book. Well written, easy to consume for the beginners. The writers have good knowledge of the subjects and delivered it in easy explanation. Smart use of diagrams and figures to explain the subject. I really liked it and looking forward to read more in the rest of series and philosophy.
Anders Brabaek
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, reference
Excellent reference book with concise introductions to many of the major philosophers. It can be read from start to finish or used as a reference book. It does not contain exhaustive information for the philosopher's or their philosophy, but the information which is there, is crisp and clear.
Sanar Othman
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you want to have a clue on what is actual history of philosophy, read this with no doubts.
Giorgos Tselios
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Philosophy Book of the 'Big Ideas Simply Explained' series is exactly what the title alludes to, and it doesn't disappoint in the least. It's a comprehensive, easy-to-read overview of philosophical thought from its origins in the ancient world to contemporary times.
Simon Farrell
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The perfect coffee table book giving a good overview of the history of philosophy and a great resource to dip into if you want an overview into a particular philosopher.
Marts  (Thinker)
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, reference
This philosophy book is the best introduction I've read on the topic. Complete with images and in very simple language the book is a historical chronicle discussing the main ideas of key philosophers from 600 BCE to the present time...
Ricardo Acuña
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, reference
This is a pretty well introduction book for novices or amateurs, but it is also very good as a quick reference for knowledgeable people. This book is remarkable because of it organization, illustrations, good colors, hard cover and good quality glossy paper.

The book present a biographical summary of the most important philosophers, including both western and east philosophers. It is easy to read, and I would say it is also enjoyable. For me (as a philosophy interested amateur) it was a like a
This book was fantastic. Covering different philosophical theories of many branches including ethical, metaphysical, political and religious. Starting off from the ancient world, 700BCE, and spanning over all of the most important and thought provoking philosophies up till the modern day. Each philosophical theory has been condensed into no more than two pages, yet contains a background on the philosopher, the age and the events that may have influenced that particular theory, the influence it ...more
Aaron Mac gafraidh
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
If you're me, you can have spent a good while reading seminal philosophies when you were younger, then years later, muddle it all up in your own head. This book is perfect for that problem, making clever use of that infographic style we love to digest in the current age. It's an innovative reference book, and something I would highly recommend for anyone who is interested in quickly finding great ideas that resonate with them.
Antonis Maronikolakis
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am not that interested in philosophy, but I wanted to educate myself in the subject a little bit. I wanted a book that both gave an overview of philosophers and allowed me to read a bit more in depth in a simple manner. This book fits exactly these criteria of mine. If you are like me and want a light overview of the field, this is a must.
Helen Hnin Oo Lwin
I read it in one sitting but I might have to re-read a few more times to absorb everything. This book was pretty heavy. I mean that both literally and figuratively. It was so heavy that I couldn't hold it up for longer than ten minutes or so.
Leif Denti
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the format: 100+ philosophers' key thoughts, each thought nicely illustrated. Philosophy is a broad topic and this book is heavily focused on ontology/epistomology. Thus, some other areas of philosophy, such as moral and political philosophy, is examined to a lesser extent.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A guide to philosophy through different ages, starting with the ancient world and ending with contemporary philosophy. Very simple, with illustrations and nice figures. Great book!
Jules Brugel
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent crashed course in philosophy.
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Takes complex texts and puts them into easy to read and colourful diagrams. A great overview of philosophy, even useful to those who are already familiar with the texts/authors.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent overview of the philosophers that have throughout history changed our views about ourselves, the world and others. This book dedicates at least a page to each philosopher in chronological order, outlines what has come before them to influence their work and what influence they have had on later theories. There is also a section for most of the philosophers, to explain who they were and their affiliated institutions. It was this section that reminded me of Syed and Gladwell who posit ...more
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me, pondering ... 1 12 Nov 11, 2012 12:26AM  

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I was born and brought up in Norfolk in the UK, and studied art, art history and anthropology in the north-east of England, before taking a PhD in philosophy. I've been Reader in Writing and Creativity at De Montfort University, Visiting Professor of Humanities at the Parami Institute in Yangon, and visiting Associate Professor in the College of Literature and Journalism at Sichuan University.

I am
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