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v2.1 Reference

A History of Philosophy in the Twentieth Century

In A History of Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, Christian Delacampagne reviews the discipline's divergent and dramatic course and shows that its greatest figures, even the most unworldly among them, were deeply affected by events of their time. From Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose famous Tractatus was actually composed in the trenches during World War I, to Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger—one who found himself barred from public life with Hitler's coming to power, the other a member of the Nazi party who later refused to repudiate German war crimes. From Bertrand Russell, whose lifelong pacifism led him to turn from logic and mathematics to social and moral questions, and Jean-Paul Sartre, who made philosophy an occasion for direct and personal political engagement, to Rudolf Carnap, a committed socialist, and Karl Popper, a resolute opponent of Communism. From the Vienna Circle and the Frankfurt School to the contemporary work of philosophers as variously minded as Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. The thinking of these philosophers, and scores of others, cannot be understood without being placed in the context of the times in which they lived.

About the Authors

Christian Delacampagne is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He has served as director of the French Institutes in Barcelona, Cairo, Madrid, and Tel-Aviv and, more recently, as the cultural and scientific attaché of the French Embassy in Boston. He presently teaches in the Department of French and Italian at Connecticut College, in New London.


"A richly detailed picture of the works of philosophy... [Delacampagne] proves to be an enlivening guide to the labyrinth of recent philosophical thought... He lucidly outlines the convergence and divergence of lines of thought in the bewildering maze of modern intellectual life."

- Neal Leavitt - Boston Book Review


"By attending to the role of philosophers in concrete historical events, Delacampagne entwines the lives and work of philosophers into a dramatic and captivating narrative that is sure to spark considerable discussion."

- John Symons, Emerson College, Boston

"This is no ordinary history of philosophy. Its novelty lies not only in the fact that it locates the great philosophers of the twentieth century within the tragic events of our century, but, so far as I know, it is the first history of philosophy that points out the effects on and the responses of different philosophers to the Holocaust."

- Dimensions

"Delacampagne relates major philosophical trends over the past 120 years on both sides of the Atlantic to their historic settings... The scope of this survey is impressive."

- Choice
Johns Hopkins University Press
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