I have searched far and wide for a book series on the history of philosophy published in my native country, which is Italy, and I must say that, having compared many, I'm almost confused as to what pick.

For no particular reason, however, or perhaps just out of curiosity, I was wondering what other notable book collections have been published in the English language, covering a time range starting from the typical beginning of western philosophy, i.e. Greek philosophy, and ending up to the most recent developments.

Note that I'm not looking for a one-volume treatment of the history of philosophy, such as A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, nor an introductory text suited for beginners (which actually, by its own definition, could arguably never be too large to be divided up into multiple volumes). I would instead be more interested in a complete, compartmentalized overview (overview, not specific, focused texts) of the various eras of philosophy, enriched with references and to be preferably read more as a reference than sequentially.

In this last case, A New History of Western Philosophy (which I think has been divided into four volumes) from Anthony Kenny looked promising, but I ran into a shortage of time and didn't have the ability to compare it or to search for other published works.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's shopping meta.stackexchange.com/questions/158809/… ; at best this could/should be a community wiki.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 19:43
  • Nothing against it, if this is what the rules say. I broadly know that the SE community favors specific questions, and I though mine could be one of that kind. Also, I honestly find my question useful. Edit: I guess there is little I can do to edit it, right?
    – Acsor
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 19:46
  • I think it's fine. There are several book recommendation questions, and although most focus on a specific field, I think the requirements here are restricted enough as well. I propose we leave it open unless it generates many low quality answers. @Dave I am aware of this issue and it is something to look out for. However, in this situation we don't have the risk that twenty different users suggest their favourite without giving any arguments. As long as answers tell something about the book they propose it should be fine.
    – user2953
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 20:30
  • there's this cool new multi-volume book on everything called "the web". I'm not joking. try plato.stanford.edu.
    – user20153
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 23:07
  • @mobileink, I'm a regular visitor of both SEP and IEP. My question stems from the fact that several book series on the history of philosophy in Italian have been published, which have a considerably extended and consistent coverage of the material. One of these is roughly twelve volumes, I think, each running from 400 to 700 pages circa. I would not say that I necessarily need these, rather I was just curious to find out what others have been published, in different languages and traditions.
    – Acsor
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 6:57

1 Answer 1


Only two multi-volume treatments of the history of philosophy come to mind:

Frederick Copleston's A History of Philosophy (11 volumes)


The Routledge History of Philosophy series (10 volumes)

Both of these start with Greek philosophy and then survey the development of Western philosophy. Volume 1 of Copleston is titled Greece and Rome and Volume 1 of the Routledge series is titled From the Beginning to Plato.

Copleston's series was published between 1946 and 1974, and it ends with Dewey, Russell, Moore, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty. It might not cover "up to the most recent developments" as you requested, but that is understandable as the last volume was published in 1974.

The first volume of the Routledge series was published in 1993, and the final volume was published in 1999. The 8th, 9th, and 10th volumes of Routledge cover 20th century philosophy. Volume 8 covers continental philosophy, volume 9 covers key elements of analytic philosophy, and volume 10 (titled Philosophy of Meaning, Knowledge and Value in the 20th Century) covers 20th century developments in language, metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology.

In sum, both of these provide compartmentalized overviews of various areas of philosophy, spanning from the Greeks to 20th century philosophy. They were both originally published in English.

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