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History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics series) by Bertrand Russell. Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format. October 9, Subject: history of westernphilosophy by bertrand russel. history of western philosophy by bertrand russel. Reviewer: zcxhcrjvkbnpnm. Since its first publication in Lord Russell's A History of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed as the outstanding.

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A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY And Its Connection with Political and . thought necessary for the sympathetic comprehension of philosophers in. Since its first publication in ? Lord Russell's A History of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the. Read "History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase. First published in

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Lawgivers received their codes from a god; thus a breach of the law became an impiety. The oldest legal code still known is that of Hammurabi, king of Babylon, about B.

The connection between religion and morality became continually closer throughout ancient times.

Babylonian religion, unlike that of Egypt, was more concerned with prosperity in this world than with happiness in the next. Magic, divination, and astrology, though not peculiar to Babylonia, were more developed there than elsewhere, and it was chiefly through Babylon that they acquired their hold on later antiquity. From Babylon come some things that belong to science: the division of the day into twenty-four hours, and of the circle into degrees; also the discovery of a cycle in eclipses, which enabled lunar eclipses to be predicted with certainty, and solar eclipses with some probability.

This Babylonian knowledge, as we shall see, was acquired by Thales. The civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia were agricultural, and those of surrounding nations, at first, were pastoral.

A new element came with the development of commerce, which was at first almost entirely maritime. Weapons, until about B. Piracy was a temporary expedient, and where social and political conditions were fairly stable, commerce was found to be more profitable.

In commerce, the island of Crete seems to have been the pioneer. For about eleven centuries, say from B. What survives of Cretan art gives an impression of cheerfulness and almost decadent luxury, very different from the terrifying gloom of Egyptian temples.

Of this important civilization almost nothing was known until the excavations of Sir Arthur Evans and others. It was a maritime civilization, in close touch with Egypt except during the time of the Hyksos. From Egyptian pictures it is evident that the very considerable commerce between Egypt and Crete was carried on by Cretan sailors; this commerce reached its maximum about B.

The Cretan religion appears to have had many affinities with the religions of Syria and Asia Minor, but in art there was more affinity with Egypt, though Cretan art was very original and amazingly full of life. The centre of the Cretan civilization was the so-called "palace of Minos" at Knossos, of which memories lingered in the traditions of classical Greece. The palaces of Crete were very magnificent, but were destroyed about the end of the fourteenth century B.

The chronology of Cretan history is derived from Egyptian objects found in Crete, and Cretan objects found in Egypt; throughout, our knowledge is dependent on archeological evidence.

The Cretans worshipped a goddess, or perhaps several goddesses. The most indubitable goddess was the "Mistress of Animals," who was a huntress, and probably the source of the classical Artemis.

She or another was also a mother; the only male deity, apart from the "Master of Animals," is her young son. There is some evidence of belief in an after life, in which, as in Egyptian belief, deeds on earth receive reward or retribution. But on the whole the Cretans appear, from their art, to have been cheerful people, not much oppressed by gloomy superstitions.

They were fond of bull-fights, at which female as well as male toreadors performed amazing acrobatic feats.

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The bull-fights were religious celebrations, and Sir Arthur Evans thinks that the performers belonged to the highest nobility. The surviving pictures are full of movement and realism. The Cretans had a linear script, but it has not been deciphered.

At home they were peaceful, and their cities were unwalled; no doubt they were defended by sea power. Before the destruction of the Minoan culture, it spread, about B. This mainland civilization is called the Mycenaean; it is known through the tombs of kings, and also through fortresses on hill- tops, which show more fear of war than had existed in Crete.

Both tombs and fortresses remained to impress the imagination of classical Greece. The older art products in the palaces are either actually of Cretan workmanship, or closely akin to those of Crete.

History of Western Philosophy

The Mycenaean civilization, seen through a haze of legend, is that which is depicted in Homer. There is much uncertainty concerning the Mycenaeans. Did they owe their civilization to being conquered by the Cretans? Did they speak Greek, or were they an earlier indigenous race?

No certain answer to these questions is possible, but on the whole it seems probable that they were conquerors who spoke Greek, and that at least the aristocracy consisted of fair-haired invaders from the North, who brought the Greek language with them.

The Greeks came to Greece in three successive waves, first the Ionians, then the Achaeans, and last the Dorians. The Ionians appear, though conquerors, to have adopted the Cretan civilization pretty completely, as, later, the Romans adopted the civilization of Greece.

But the Ionians were disturbed, and largely dispossessed, by their successors the Achaeans. The Achaeans are known, from the Hittite tablets found at Boghaz-Keul, to have had a large organized empire in the fourteenth century B.

The Mycenaean civilization, which had been weakened by the warfare of the Ionians and Achaeans, was practically destroyed by the Dorians, the last Greek invaders.

Whereas previous invaders had largely adopted the Minoan religion, the Dorians retained the original Indo-European religion of their ancestors. The religion of Mycenaean times, however, lingered on, especially in the lower classes, and the religion of classical Greece was a blend of the two. Although the above account seems probable, it must be remembered that we do not know whether the Mycenaeans were Greeks or not.

What we do know is that their civilization decayed, that about the time when it ended iron superseded bronze, and that for some time sea supremacy passed to the Phoenicians. Both during the later part of the Mycenaean age and after its end, some of the invaders settled down and became agriculturists, while some pushed on, first into the islands and Asia Minor, then into Sicily and southern Italy, where they founded cities that lived by maritime commerce.

It was in these maritime cities that the Greeks first made qualitatively new contributions to civilization; the supremacy of Athens came later, and was equally associated, when it came, with naval power. The mainland of Greece is mountainous and largely infertile. But there are many fertile valleys, with easy access to the sea, but cut off by the mountains from easy land communication with each other. In these valleys little separate communities grew up, living by agriculture, and centering round a town, generally close to the sea.

In such circumstances it was natural that, as soon as the population of any community grew too great for its internal resources, those who could not live on the land should take to seafaring. The cities of the mainland founded colonies, often in places where it was much easier to find subsistence than it had been at home. Thus in the earliest historical period the Greeks of Asia Minor, Sicily, and Italy were much richer than those of the Greek mainland.

The social system was very different in different parts of Greece. In Sparta, a small aristocracy subsisted on the labour of oppressed serfs of a different race; in the poorer agricultural regions, the population consisted mainly of farmers cultivating their own land with the help of their families.

But where commerce and industry flourished, the free citizens grew rich by the employment of slaves -- male in the mines, female in the textile industry. These slaves were, in Ionia, of the surrounding barbarian population, and were, as a rule, first acquired in war.

With increasing wealth went increasing isolation of respectable women, who in later times had little part in the civilized aspects of Greek life except in Sparta. There was a very general development, first from monarchy to aristocracy, then to an alternation of tyranny and democracy. The kings were not absolute, like those of Egypt and Babylonia; they were advised by a Council of Elders, and could not transgress custom with impunity.

The early tyrants, like the Medici, acquired their power through being the richest members of their respective plutocracies. Often the source of their wealth was the ownership of gold and silver mines, made the more profitable by the new institution of coinage, which came from the kingdom of Lydia, adjacent to Ionia.

Coinage seems to have been invented shortly before B. One of the most important results, to the Greeks, of commerce or piracy -- at first the two are scarcely distinct -- was the acquisition of the art of writing. Although writing had existed for thousands of years in Egypt and Babylonia, and the Minoan Cretans had a script which has not been deciphered , there is no conclusive evidence that the Greeks knew how to write until about the tenth century B. They learnt the art from the Phoenicians, who, like the other inhabitants of Syria, were exposed to both Egyptian and Babylonian influences, and who held the supremacy in maritime commerce until the rise of the Greek cities of Ionia, Italy, and Sicily.

In the fourteenth century, writing to Ikhnaton the heretic king of Egypt , Syrians still used the Babylonian cuneiform; but Hiram of Tyre used the Phoenician alphabet, which probably developed out of the Egyptian script. The Egyptians used, at first, a pure picture writing; gradually the pictures, much conventionalized, came to represent syllables the first syllables of the names of the things pictured , and at last single letters, on the principle of "A was an Archer who shot at a frog.

The Greeks, borrowing from the Phoenicians, altered the alphabet to suit their language, and made the important innovation of adding vowels instead of having only consonants. There can be no doubt that the acquisition of this convenient method of writing greatly hastened the rise of Greek civilization. The first notable product of the Hellenic civilization was Homer.

Everything about Homer is conjectural, but the best opinion seems to be that he was a series of poets rather than an individual. Probably the Iliad and the Odyssey between them took about two hundred years to complete, some say from to B. The Homeric poems, in their present form, were brought to Athens by Peisistratus, who reigned with intermissions from to B. From his time onward, the Athenian youth learnt Homer by heart, and this was the most important part of their education. In some parts of Greece, notably in Sparta, Homer had not the same prestige until a later date.

The Homeric poems, like the courtly romances of the later Middle Ages, represent the point of view of a civilized aristocracy, which ignores as plebeian various superstitions that are still rampant among the populace. In much later times, many of these superstitions rose again to the light of day.

Guided by anthropology, modern writers have come to the conclusion that Homer, so far from being primitive, was an expurgator, a kind of eighteenth-century rationalizer of ancient myths, holding up an upper-class ideal of urbane enlightenment. The Olympian gods, who represent religion in Homer, were not the only objects of worship among the Greeks, either in his time or later. There were other darker and more savage elements in popular religion, which were kept at bay by the Greek intellect at its best, but lay in wait to pounce in moments of weakness or terror.

In the time of decadence, beliefs which Homer had discarded proved to have persisted, half buried, throughout the classical period. This fact explains many things that would otherwise seem inconsistent and surprising. Primitive religion, everywhere, was tribal rather than personal. Certain rites were performed, which were intended, by sympathetic magic, to further the interests of the tribe, especially in respect of fertility, vegetable, animal, and human.

The winter solstice was a time when the sun had to be encouraged not to go on diminishing in strength; spring and harvest also called for appropriate ceremonies.

These were often such as to generate a great collective excitement, in which individuals lost their sense of separateness and felt themselves at one with the whole tribe.

All over the world, at a certain stage of religious evolution, sacred animals and human beings were ceremonially killed and eaten. In different regions, this stage occurred at very different dates. Human sacrifice usually lasted longer than the sacrificial eating of human victims; in Greece it was not yet extinct at the beginning of historical times.

Fertility rites without such cruel aspects were common throughout Greece; the Eleusinian mysteries, in particular, were essentially agricultural in their symbolism. It must be admitted that religion, in Homer, is not very religious. The gods are completely human, differing from men only in being immortal and possessed of superhuman powers. Morally, there is nothing to be said for them, and it is difficult to see how they can have inspired much awe. In some passages, supposed to be late, they are treated with Voltairean irreverence.

Such genuine religious feeling as is to be found in Homer is less concerned with the gods of Olympus than with more shadowy beings such as Fate or Necessity or Destiny, to whom even Zeus is subject. Fate exercised a great influence on all Greek thought, and perhaps was one of the sources from which science derived the belief in natural law. The Homeric gods were the gods of a conquering aristocracy, not the useful fertility gods of those who actually tilled the soil. As Gilbert Murray says: "The gods of most nations claim to have created the world.

The Olympians make no such claim. The most they ever did was to conquer it And when they have conquered their kingdoms, what do they do? Do they attend to the government? Do they promote agriculture? Do they practise trades and industries? Not a bit of it. Why should they do any honest work? They find it easier to live on the revenues and blast with thunderbolts the people who do not pay. Works Of William Shakespeare: William Shakespeare.

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A History of Western Philosophy

ABC of Relativity. The Art of Philosophizing. Free Thought and Official Propaganda. What I Believe. The Impact of Science On Society. The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Philosophical Essays. The Scientific Outlook. On Denoting. An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. Philosophy of Language. Susana Nuccetelli. The Philosophy of Logical Atomism. On the Relations of Universals and Particulars. The Philosophy of Bergson. The Problem of China. Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy. The Prospects of Industrial Civilisation.

An Outline of Philosophy. Great Philosophers Volume One. Great Philosophers Volume Two. Alfred North Whitehead. Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Value. Freedom and Organisation, Its Scope and Limits. Common Sense and Nuclear Warfare.They looked to a revelation as the source of religious authority, and they were organized as artificial communities. Friedrich Nietzsche. There was a period when there were various independent cities which fought with each other, but in the end Babylon became supreme and established an empire.

Western Philosophy

Stephen Evans brings his expertise to this daunting task as he surveys the history of Western philosophy, from the Pre-Socratics to Nietzsche and postmodernism—and every major figure and movement in between. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century.

These names and the philosophies associated with them ring through the minds of every student and scholar of philosophy.

On the one hand the purposes of the community are enforced upon the individual, and, on the other hand the individual, having acquired the habit of viewing his life as a whole, increasingly sacrifices his present to his future. From his time onward, the Athenian youth learnt Homer by heart, and this was the most important part of their education.