Looking for just one book about Western Philosophy? If you are, I recommend that you check out Steven Cahnâ€™s â€œClassics of Western Philosophyâ€. Whether you go to the library to borrow an old copy or get your hand on the latest (7th) edition you can will be hard-pressed to find an anthology that is more readable as well as affordable. In fact this book is becoming the text to use so much so that as Dr Vern Lindquist, an active reviewer/commenter in Amazon, said, “Classics” is itself becoming a classic.
Of course this not a book to read in one sitting with such a very broad range of philosophers and their representative ideas. The latest edition â€œpresents complete texts or substantial selections from fifty-six philosophical masterpieces, in pre-eminent and thoughtfully annotated translations and editions.â€ According to the Amazon description the additions to the 7th edition include â€œselections from Plotinus’ “Enneads”, Schopenhauer’s “The World as Will and Representation”, Husserl’s “Paris Lectures”, Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations”, and a new selection from Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit”. Selections from Aristotle’s “Metaphysics” and “On the Soul” have been expanded, while Aristotle’s “Physics and Nicomachean Ethics”, Hume’s “Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”, Mill’s “On Liberty”, and Russell’s “The Problem of Philosophy” have been further abridged.â€
This is one book thatâ€™s a must for any philosophy student or anyone whoâ€™s interested in simply learning some of the most interesting and compelling ideas of the best western philosophers.