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Does the history of philosophy matter?

A new history of philosophy makes a brave attempt to fill in gaps in public knowledge, but does it pass the "wikipedia test?"

By Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson  

Bertrand Russell wrote a defining history of philosophy. © Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

If you study philosophy at a British or American university, your education in the history of the subject will likely be modest. Most universities teach Plato and Aristotle, skip about two millennia to Descartes, zip through the highlights of Empiricism and Rationalism to Kant, and then drop things again until the 20th Century, where Frege and Russell arise from the mists of the previous…

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