Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
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Entertaining, lucid and captious - typically Russellian
am 12. Juli 1999
As a history of Western philosophy it has its obvious (and by now pretty well-known) shortcomings, although I don't think that dishonesty is one of them. Russell does mention that he counts himself a positivist. He does dish out harsh treatment to some philosophers undeservedly, such as Kant (but even there he starts the chapter by telling the reader that Kant is generally reckoned to be one of history's finest philosophers).
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is Russell's thorough attempt to explain philosophy's 'connection with political and social circumstances', as promised in the title. I know too little about history to be able to comment on Russell's exposition of political circumstances, but his attempts to expose the relationship between the histories of politics and of ideas are brave and normally sound convincing. What his approach does is make the philosphy come alive and the reader (this reader at any rate) more appreciative of the impact philosophy (and hence philosophers) can have in the real world - whatever THAT is...
Above all, the prose is classic Russell and the book is highly entertaining for several reasons, all good! By no means definitive; but if I wanted that, I'd find a dictionary.