Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The tradition of ancient philosophy is a long, rich and varied one, in which a constant note is that of discussion and argument.

This book introduces readers to some ancient debates to engage with the ancient developments of some themes.

Getting away from the presentation of ancient philosophy as a succession of Great Thinkers, the book gives readers a sense of the freshness and liveliness of ancient philosophy, and of its wide variety of themes and styles.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 152 pages, black and white halftones and line drawings
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Western philosophy: Ancient, to c 500
  • ISBN: 9780192853578



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Annas provides a convincing argument that ancient philosophy was an ongoing debate about essential questions of human understanding, being, and living together. Like other books in the "very short" series, the format does not allow for substantial engagement on any single topic, to the detriment of a rich understanding of the issues. Still, Annas at least provides a rough outline of the major schools of thought, the most significant figures, and their intellectual connections, or lack thereof. The book should, however, be read in conjunction with fuller accounts, or as a brief overview of issues and key figures rather than as a substantive catalog of ancient thought.

Review by

Arguments and Conversation Julia Annas, in a readable and clear way, exposes in this short work the main aspects of ancient philosophy. The curiosity about the world's mysteries and the discoveries of our search for knowledge propel this ancient endeavour. The differents philosophers of the time and their works are refered and interpreted (the multiples understandings of the same work are pointed). Ancient philosophy, the author points, is better understanded as a conversation, one in with differents aspects of the same reality or concept are explained.