A History of Philosophy is a history of Western philosophy written by the English Jesuit priest Frederick Charles Copleston originally published in nine volumes between 1946 and 1975. As is noted by The Encyclopedia Britannica, the work became a \"standard introductory philosophy text for thousands of university students, particularly in its U.S. paperback edition.\" Since 2003 it has been marketed as an eleven volume work with two previously published other works by Copleston being added to the series.
Reviewing the first volume in 1947, George Boas remarked that: \"None of [Copleston's Thomistic] interpretations will do much harm to the reader of this very scholarly book. Most of them are put in parentheses, as if they were inserted to warn the seminarists that they must not be taken in by the pagans. They could be removed, and a history of ancient philosophy ad usum infidelium would result which would be head and shoulders above the usual histories. [...] He obviously knows the ancient literature well and, if he had not felt himself obliged to be a modern Eusebius, he had the knowledge to write a genuine history. On the other hand, he is too given to periodizing and generalizing. [...] One can have but the highest praise for Father Copleston's erudition; it is too bad that he could not have put it into writing a really original study of ancient philosophical ideas.\"
Regarding the objectivity of the work, Martin Gardner, echoing remarks he had made previously, noted: \"The Jesuit priest Frederick Copleston wrote a marvelous multi-volume history of philosophy. I have no inkling of what he believed about any Catholic doctrine.\"
Philosopher and theologian Benedict M. Ashley compared A History of Philosophy to some of the most famous histories of philosophy as follows: \"Some histories of philosophy, like the admirable one of Frederick Copleston, only attempt to give an accurate account of various philosophies in their general historical setting. Others, like Bertrand Russell in his absurd History of Western Philosophy or Etienne Gilson in his brilliant The Unity of Philosophical Experience proffer an argument for a particular philosophical position.\"
The Washington Post: \"Copleston's account of western philosophy has long been a standard reference, most familiar to students as a series of slender rack-sized paperbacks. Copleston writes with welcome clarity, but without the slight dumbing down of Will Durant's engaging Story of Philosophy or the biases of Bertrand Russell's provocative History of Western Philosophy. In other words, Copleston's volumes are still the place to start for anyone interested in following man's speculations about himself and his world.\" 153554b96e