Philosophy and Its History

Issues in Philosophical Historiography

By Jorge J. E. Gracia

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791408186, 409 pages, November 1991
Hardcover : 9780791408179, 409 pages, December 1991

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Table of contents


Introduction: The History of Philosophy and the Future of Philosophy

1. History, Philosophy, and the History of Philosophy

2. Philosophy and Its History

3. Doing Philosophy Historically: The Justification and Value of the History of Philosophy

4. Texts and Their Interpretation

5. A Philosophical History of Philosophy: Uses and Abuses of the History of Philosophy

6. The Deveopment of Philosophical Ideas: Stages, Interpretation, and Progress


Select Bibliography

Index of Authors

Index of Subjects and Terms


This book is a systematic and comprehensive treatment of issues involved in philosophical historiography. It deals with such topics as the relation of philosophy to its history, the role of value judgments in historical accounts, the value of the history of philosophy for philosophy, the nature and role of texts and their interpretation in the history of philosophy, historiographical method, and the stages of development of philosophical progress.

The book defends two main theses. The first is that the history of philosophy must be done philosophically, that is, it must include philosophical judgments. The second is that one way to bring a rapprochement between Anglo-American and Continental philosophy is through the study of the history of philosophy and its historiography. An extensive bibliography of pertinent materials and detailed indexes close the book.

Jorge J. E. Gracia is Professor of Philosophy at State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of Individuality: An Essay on the Foundations of Metaphysics and Philosophy and Literature in Latin America: A Critical Assessment of the Current Situation both published by SUNY Press.


"This is, to my knowledge, the most comprehensive, systematic, and constructive discussion of the relations between philosophy and its history ever written. It is a landmark essay in philosophical historiography, much more comprehensive, cogently argued, lucid, and provocative than any essay written before on the relations between philosophy and its history. " — Peter H. Hare

"Professor Gracia's book is a stunning tour de force, a brilliant scholarly achievement. It will serve to define the future practice of philosophy, both in this country and abroad. No serious philosopher or intellectual historian can afford to be without this remarkable book. " — George R. Lucas, Jr.