Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy - Jostein Gaarder, Paulette Møller

Original Title: Sofies Verden

 

This book is a summary of Western Philosophy starting at the Early Greek Philosophers (let's say Pre-Socrates) and ending with the modern philosophers. Luckily, this book reads mostly like a novel.

 

I really liked the beginning of the book. I happen to have had a class on Pre-Socratic philosophy, as part of my Greek lessons, and I think that after a year I got the vision of Heraklitus cum suis clear. So it was most interesting to read about it in this book.

In this part it still is a story you're reading.

 

After Socrates, Plato and Aristotle it's only a short way to 'modern' philosophy, starting at Descartes. (I also happen to have had a class on the 'philosophy and introduction of ethics' where the professor just couldn't shut up about Descartes, and after very few words on Kant and Nietzsche moved on to Freud, another person he really liked to talk about) But at some point during the (I think it's was the 19th century philosophers) I got lost. As the philosophy becomes weirder (as in like 'what if we're not real, but just live in the imagination of someone else'), the story also takes a turn down that path, and it turns barely understandable. The sense of reading a novel gets lost as well. It left me confused. (Though I really liked the first part)

 

Note: I read a Dutch translation of this book