Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Editor: Tom Jackson
Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press
“The thoughts and deeds of great thinkers always make great stories, and here we have one hundred all together. Each story relates a ponderable, a weighty problem that became a discovery and changed the way we understand the world and our place in it,” Tom Jackson states in the introduction of his book, Philosophy – An Illustrated History of Thought.
This one hundred and sixty-eight page hardbound is one of the Ponderables series dedicated to trying to answer some of the oldest and important subjects in history. Each series discusses one hundred breakthroughs that changed history and who did what and when in a specific topic. This book caters to one hundred milestones that changed the way we perceive and understand philosophy throughout the ages.
Arranged like its predecessors, the book is separated into five categories based on time: the study of existence, knowledge, action, society, and art. Each breakthrough discussed is from a half page to two pages long, mentioning year discovered, by whom, and how with tidbits of interesting particulars and pictures or diagrams.
After the topics, the book explains the schools of philosophy through metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics, offering twenty-one short descriptions. Next there are seven interesting “Imponderables” that are yet to be ascertained, thirty-nine great philosophers’ profiles including their birthplace, birth and death dates, and important finding along with a notable paragraph. Finally, there is a bibliography, index, and acknowledgements along with an extensive fold-out timeline history of philosophy on one side and thirty-five short biographies on the other side.
With only timeline divisions in the one hundred ponderables, discussions range from the theories or stoicism, humanism, skepticism, utilitarianism, feminism, pragmatism, and logical positivism to concepts of free will, existence and perception, pure reason, liberty, psychoanalysis, and paradigm shifts. Also included are works by Plato, Machiavelli, Pascal, Voltaire, Schrodinger, Sartre, and Wittgenstein, to name a few.
Readers are immediately drawn to the colorful, detailed photographs, artworks, and diagrams, learning about atoms, utopia, evolution by natural selection, self-analysis, animal rights, and personal identity. Short biographies mention Confucius, Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, Karl Marx, and Bertrand Russell, among many others.
Although some debate if Jesus Christ was the ultimate philosopher, He is not listed in the index, nor is the Bible. With over twenty-six page references on God, there are eleven on Christianity.
With the most interesting part being the unanswered seven “Ponderables” such as if the sky is always blue, what makes things funny, is anything unexpected, or is time real, this is a thoughtful gift for any current-day philosopher who wants to add an intelligent read to a coffee table.
Thanks to Shelter Harbor Press for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.