"How is this history of philosophy different from all others? 1. It's neighter very long (like Copleston's twelve-volumet tome, which is a clear and hepful reference work but pretty dull reading) nor very short (like many skimpy one-volume summaries) just long enough. 2. It's available in separate volumes but eventually in one complete work (after the four volumes - Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Contemporary - are produced in paperbound editions, a one-volume clothbound will be published). 3. It focuses on the "big ideas" that have influenced present people and present times. 4. It includes relevant biographical data, proportionate to its importance for each thinker. 5. It is not just history but philosophy. Its aim is not merely to record facts (of life or opinion) but to stimulate philosophizing, controversy, argument. 6. It aims above all at understanding, at what the old logic called the "first act of the mind" rather than the third: the thing computers and many "analytic philosophers" cannot understand. 7. It uses ordinary language and logic, not academic jargon or symbolic logic. 8. It is commonsensical (and therefore is sympathetic to commonsense philosophers like Aristotle). 9. It is "existential" in that it sees philosophy as something to be lived and tested"-- Provided by publisher.