What We Are Reading Today: The World Philosophy Made by Scott Soames

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Updated 20 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The World Philosophy Made by Scott Soames

Philosophical investigation is the root of all human knowledge. Developing new concepts, reinterpreting old truths, and reconceptualizing fundamental questions, philosophy has progressed — and driven human progress — for more than two millennia. 

In short, we live in a world philosophy made. In this concise history of philosophy’s world-shaping impact, Scott Soames demonstrates that the modern world— including its science, technology, and politics— simply would not be possible without the accomplishments of philosophy.

Firmly rebutting the misconception of philosophy as ivory-tower thinking, Soames traces its essential contributions to fields as diverse as law and logic, psychology and economics, relativity and rational decision theory. Beginning with the giants of ancient Greek philosophy, The World Philosophy Made chronicles the achievements of the great thinkers, from the medieval and early modern eras to the present. 

It explores how philosophy has shaped our language, science, mathematics, religion, culture, morality, education, and politics, as well as our understanding of ourselves.

Philosophy’s idea of rational inquiry as the key to theoretical knowledge and practical wisdom has transformed the world in which we live. From the laws that govern society to the digital technology that permeates modern life, philosophy has opened up new possibilities and set us on more productive paths. The World Philosophy Made explains and illuminates as never before the inexhaustible richness of philosophy and its influence on our individual and collective lives.


What We Are Reading Today: The Muqaddimah

Updated 04 April 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Muqaddimah

Author: Ibn Khaldun

The Muqaddimah, often translated as “Introduction” or “Prolegomenon,” is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world.
Written by the great 14th-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (died 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics.
The first complete English translation by the eminent interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in the US and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal’s masterful translation first appeared in 1969.
This Princeton Classics edition of the abridged version includes Rosenthal’s original introduction as well as a contemporary introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence.
This volume makes available a seminal work of Islam and medieval and ancient history to twenty-first century audiences, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.