Historia de la Filosofía

Julián Marías

Dover Edition

Julián Marías's "Historia de la Filosofía," translated by Stanley Appelbaum and Clarence C. Strowbridge, is an excellent introduction to the history of Western philosophical thought. First published in Madrid in 1941, it has gone through 22 editions in Spanish and has become the standard classroom text on the subject throughout the Spanish-speaking world. The book covers virtually all the major philosophers and schools from the Pre-Socratics to mid-twentieth century. Influential secondary figures are treated extensively as well. As a one-volume reference to the history of philosophy, Marias's text succeeds admirably. The book has four parts: Greek Philosophy, Christianity, Medieval Philosophy, and Modern Philosophy, this last part being the largest in extent and broadest in thematic scope. Christianity, the shortest part, deals basically with Patristic speculation and Augustine, and serves as a prelude to Scholasticism. The narrative is consistently well-structured, clear and precise. A thorough bibliography and index are included. At times the author avoids delving too deeply into some topic when this reader felt that a more profound treatment would have been preferable. Perhaps this is inevitable in a work of this breadth intended for a general audience. Fortunately, it does not occur too often and certainly does not diminish the worth of the book as a whole. "History of Philosophy" rightfully earns a five-star rating.