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About the Author: Jonathan Rée

Jonathan Rée is a freelance philosopher who used to teach at Middlesex University in London, but gave up lecturing in order to "have more time to think," and was for many years associated with the magazine Radical Philosophy. His work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and elsewhere.

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The Invention of Philosophy in English by

Goodreads rating: 4.29

, Published in Jan 1970 by Penguin Books Ltd

ISBN10: 014102741X | ISBN13: 9780141027418

'We English men have wits,' wrote the clergyman Ralph Lever in 1573, and, 'we have also framed to ourselves a language.'

Witcraft takes an original approach to the history of philosophy by overthrowing the standard narrative of canonical texts and thinkers and by concentrating on philosophy in one language - English. It contains compelling portraits of celebrated British and American philosophers, including Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Berkeley, Mill and James, but it broadens our understanding of philosophical activity by including the work of those usually thought of as literary authors such as Hazlitt, Coleridge, Emerson and George Eliot, and many men and women who thought philosophically, or whose lives were changed by philosophy, but are now forgotten. Some of those Ree uncovers include pioneers such as Mary Astell (the female virtuoso who advocated a philosophical college for women), Thomas Wirgman (the London goldsmith who offered tuition in Kantian philosophy), Harriet Martineau (the lady economist), Ragar Redbeard (who modelled himself on Nietzsche and proclaimed that nothing is true) and Thomas Davidson (perfective socialist and founder of the Fellowship of the New Life).

Rée's description of philosophy in Britain and America reveals it to be colourful, diverse, inventive and cosmopolitan. It is not just an examination of great thinkers, but of ordinary men and women thinking for themselves, and reaching their own conclusions about religion, politics, art and everything else. It is full of stories and personalities as well as ideas, and shows philosophy springing from the life around it. Witty, erudite, provocative and engaging, it enables us to think freshly about the history of philosophy.

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