A Little History of Philosophy, By Nigel Warburton

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This easy-reading tour of Western thought in 40 short chapters (Plato to Turing and Singer) will not please every camp.

From pre-Socratics to post-structuralists, Warburton stakes out his position by omission (so no Heidegger, except as an aside in the chapter on Arendt).

Derrida and co do not exist for him. But on home turf he can be first-rate, from Aristotle's happiness to Mill's liberty and Rawls's justice, with a knack for the pithy anecdote and the striking example.

Smart stockings would benefit from a copy this festive season.