Book Review: The big picture on the development of philosophy

“Philosophy 100 Essential Thinkers” by Philip Stokes

In its most basic function, philosophy is essentially a battle of ideas. With that in mind, this book neatly spotted some of history’s best philosophers in a cronological order, and gives us the big picture on the battle of ideas.

Out of the 100 in the book we find the usual bunch of philosophers such as Plato, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Descartes, mixed it with those who develop their philosophy from their vocation like Darwin, Keynes, Lenin, Einstein, and Freud, with a lot of important – but relatively unknown to the general public – thinkers such as Ernst Mach, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Michel Foucault also arguing their theories.

The book explains the ideas of each philosopher in a concise manner, explains how or why they think like that and what happened in their lives that eventually shaped those ideas, and also highlighted who influences whom and who despises whom.

More interestingly, the book brilliantly construct the battle of ideas in such a way that as if the philosophers were all having a passionate debate in the same room.

Just as it were in real life, the arguments are messy, sometimes illogical, but ultimately vital to the development of philosophical thoughts into what we all believe in today’s society.