While attempting to bring order and structure to the history of philosophy, professionals in modern universities have apparently lost sight of what philosophy really is. So says Matthew Stewart, who has discovered that in the professors’ well-intended pursuit of the truth and knowledge, this area of thought has been dissected, organized into a series of schools, movements, cults of personality for great individuals, and tainted with mysticism, all of which reduces the accessibility and value of philosophy’s noble pursuit.
The Truth About Everything is an open, sometimes hilarious guided tour through the history of philosophy from outside the traditional, institutional perspective. With an unusually frank and irreverent style, using parables and imaginary dialogues, Stewart deftly exposes the myths laminated onto the history of philosophy and offers a realistic assessment of influential philosophers, and the movements that often surround them as well as efforts made to advance human knowledge and happiness.
Stewart shows that simply knowing theories, recognizing revered schools, and distinguishing the views of great philosophers is not what real philosophy is about. Included in this delightful romp through philosophy are sections on the Presocratics, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic philosophers, Neoplatonism, Eastern philosophy, Medieval philosophy, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Empiricism, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and “The End of Philosophy”.
The Truth About Everything employs numerous illustrations and graphics to accompany Stewart’s zestful passages. Centuries of stodgy pretentiousness dissolve to expose philosophy as the vehicle all of us have the responsibility to use when making sense of the world. — And be aware that your tour guide through this history is wielding a sledgehammer to some of the pillars of philosophy that scholars hold dear. — James A. Cox