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History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell first edition 1946

History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell first edition 1946


History of Western Philosophy and its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day 

London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1946 


8vo., publisher’s coarse cream cloth, contrasting painted brown painted labels, lettered in yellow, to backstrip; preserved in the brown, yellow and cream dust jacket (21s. net) designed by A E Barlow; pp. [iv], 5-916; very good, altogether, with the wrapper in far better condition than often found; a little shaky in the binding; spotting to outer edges; lightly offset to prelims; wrapper toned, with some brown marks to lower panel, rubbed and nicked at extremities, particularly affecting head and foot of spine; a couple of smaller closed tears here also, very discreetly repaired internally with tape. 


First edition of this important work encompassing the scope of Philosophical thought, from the ancient Greeks through to Russell’s own theories on logical analysis. Printed on War Economy Standard Paper, the jackets for these editions utilised old military maps, with each therefore being a unique copy in its own right. This particular example has been taken from a 1944 map of the Netherlands, showing Amsterdam to the North, and Antwerp and Ghent to the South. 


A key text for Philosophy students even today, Russell contrived of History of Western Philosophy during the Second World War, during which time he was himself lecturing on the history of Philosophy at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Most of the historical research, however, was carried out by his wife Patricia, who receives a cursory line of thanks in his introduction. A comprehensive and thorough work, it is divided into three sections, the first beginning with an introduction on the Pre-Socratics, before chronologically detailing other key figures: Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, among others. The second focuses on Catholic Philosophy, including St Augustine, Pope Gregory and St Thomas Aquinas. The final section covers Modern Philosophy, from the Renaissance to Hume, Descartes’ Cartesian thought, Kant, Nietzsche, and the Utilitarians. It concludes with his own views at the time. While some reviewed the work positively as an attempt to condense the discipline into a mere 800 pages, others were miffed at the (no doubt necessary) omission of certain philosophers. Despite this, however, it went on to become one of his most popular works, and indeed one of the best-selling philosophical texts of the 20th century. 


Copies are becoming increasingly difficult to find with the jacket so intact. 

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