William James "Will" Durant (/dəˈrænt/; November 5, 1885 – November 7, 1981) was an American writer, historian, and philosopher. He became best known for his work The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel Durant, and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for The Story of Philosophy (1926), described as "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy".
He conceived of philosophy as total perspective or seeing things sub specie totius (a phrase inspired by Spinoza's sub specie aeternitatis). He sought to unify and humanize the great body of historical knowledge, which had grown voluminous and become fragmented into esoteric specialties, and to vitalize it for contemporary application.
William Durant and Ariel Durant (1930)
|Born||William James Durant|
November 5, 1885
North Adams, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||November 7, 1981 (aged 96)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Historian, writer, philosopher, teacher|
|Alma mater||Saint Peter's College (B.A., 1907)|
Columbia University (PhD, philosophy, 1917)
|Subject||History, philosophy, religion|
|Literary movement||Philosophy, etc.|
In 1900, Durant was educated by the Jesuits in St. Peter's Preparatory School and, later, Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey. Historian Joan Rubin writes of that period, "Despite some adolescent flirtations, he began preparing for the vocation that promised to realize his mother's fondest hopes for him: the priesthood. In that way, one might argue, he embarked on a course that, while distant from Yale's or Columbia's apprenticeships in gentility, offered equivalent cultural authority within his own milieu."
In 1905, he began experimenting with socialist philosophy, but, after World War I, he began recognizing that a "lust for power" underlay all forms of political behavior. However, even before the war, "other aspects of his sensibility had competed with his radical leanings," notes Rubin. She adds that "the most concrete of those was a persistent penchant for philosophy. With his energy invested in Baruch Spinoza, he made little room for the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. From then on, writes Rubin, "his retention of a model of selfhood predicated on discipline made him unsympathetic to anarchist injunctions to 'be yourself.'... To be one's 'deliberate self,' he explained, meant to 'rise above' the impulse to 'become the slaves of our passions' and instead to act with 'courageous devotion' to a moral cause."
Durant graduated in 1907. He worked as a reporter for Arthur Brisbane's New York Evening Journal for 10 dollars a week. At the Evening Journal, he wrote several articles on sexual criminals. In 1907, he began teaching Latin, French, English and geometry at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. He was also made librarian there.
In 1911, he left the seminary. He became the principal of Ferrer Modern School, an advanced school intended to educate the working classes; he also taught there. Alden Freeman, a supporter of the Ferrer Modern School, sponsored him for a tour of Europe. At the Modern School, he fell in love with and married a 15-year-old pupil, Chaya (Ida) Kaufman, whom he later nicknamed "Ariel". The Durants had one daughter, Ethel, and adopted a son, Louis.
By 1914, he began to reject "intimations of human evil", notes Rubin, and to "retreat from radical social change." She summarizes the changes in his overall philosophy:
Instead of tying human progress to the rise of the proletariat, he made it the inevitable outcome of the laughter of young children or the endurance of his parents' marriage. As Ariel later summarized it, he had concocted, by his mid-30s, "that sentimental, idealizing blend of love, philosophy, Christianity, and socialism which dominated his spiritual chemistry" the rest of his life.
The attributes ultimately propelled him away from radicalism as a substitute faith and from teaching young anarchists as an alternative vocation. Instead, late in 1913 he embarked on a different pursuit: the dissemination of culture.
In 1913, he resigned his post as teacher. To support themselves, he began lecturing in a Presbyterian church for $5 and $10; the material for the lectures became the starting point for The Story of Civilization.
In 1917, while working on a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia University, he wrote his first book, Philosophy and the Social Problem. He discussed the idea that philosophy had not grown because it avoided the actual problems of society. He received his doctorate that same year from Columbia. He was also an instructor at the university.
The Story of Philosophy originated as a series of Little Blue Books (educational pamphlets aimed at workers) and was so popular it was republished in 1926 by Simon & Schuster as a hardcover book and became a bestseller, giving the Durants the financial independence that would allow them to travel the world several times and spend four decades writing The Story of Civilization. Will left teaching and began work on the 11-volume Story of Civilization.
The Durants strove throughout The Story of Civilization to create what they called "integral history." They opposed it to the "specialization" of history, an anticipatory rejection of what some have called the "cult of the expert." Their goal was to write a "biography" of a civilization, in this case, the West, including not just the usual wars, politics and biography of greatness and villainy but also the culture, art, philosophy, religion, and the rise of mass communication. Much of The Story considers the living conditions of everyday people throughout the 2500 year period that their "story" of the West covers. They also bring an unabashedly moral framework to their accounts, constantly stressing the "dominance of strong over the weak, the clever over the simple." The Story of Civilization is the most successful historiographical series in history. It has been said that the series "put Simon & Schuster on the map" as a publishing house. In the 1990s, an unabridged audiobook production of all 11 volumes was produced by Books On Tape read by Alexander Adams (Grover Gardner).
For Rousseau and Revolution (1967), the 10th volume of The Story of Civilization, the Durants were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature. In 1977, it was followed by one of the two highest awards granted by the United States government to civilians, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by Gerald Ford.
The first volume of The Story of Civilization series, called Our Oriental Heritage (1935), is divided into an introduction and three books. The introduction takes the reader through the different aspects of civilization (economical, political, moral and mental). Book One is dedicated to the civilizations of the Near East (Sumeria, Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Judea and Persia). Book two is "India and Her Neighbors." Book three moves deeper into the east, where the Chinese Civilization flourishes and Japan starts to find its place in the world's political map.
On April 8, 1944, Durant was approached by two leaders of the Jewish and Christian faiths, Meyer David and Christian Richard about starting "a movement, to raise moral standards." He suggested instead that they start a movement against racial intolerance and outlined his ideas for a "Declaration of Interdependence". The movement for the declaration, Declaration of INTERdependence, Inc., was launched at a gala dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on March 22, 1945, attended by over 400 people including Thomas Mann and Bette Davis. The Declaration was read into the Congressional Record on October 1, 1945, by Ellis E. Patterson.[a]
Throughout his career, Durant made several speeches, including "Persia in the History of Civilization", which was presented as an address before the Iran-America Society in Tehran, Iran, on April 21, 1948 and had been intended for inclusion in the Bulletin of the Asia Institute (formerly, Bulletin of the American Institute for Persian, then Iranian, Art and Archaeology), Vol. VII, no. 2, which never saw publication.
Rousseau and Revolution was followed by a slender volume of observations called The Lessons of History, which was both a synopsis of the series as well as analysis.
Though Ariel and Will had intended to carry the work on The Story of Civilisation into the 20th century, at their now very advanced age they expected the 10th volume to be their last. However, they went on to publish a final volume, their 11th, The Age of Napoleon in 1975. They also left behind notes for a 12th volume, The Age of Darwin, and an outline for a 13th, The Age of Einstein, which would have taken The Story of Civilization to 1945.
Three posthumous works by Durant have been published in recent years, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time (2002), Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age (2001), and Fallen Leaves (2014).
The Durants also shared an intense love for one another as explained in their Dual Autobiography. After Will entered the hospital, Ariel stopped eating, and died on October 25, 1981. Though their daughter, Ethel, and grandchildren strove to keep Ariel's death from the ailing Will, he learned of it on the evening news, and died two weeks later, at the age of 96, on November 7, 1981. Will was buried beside Ariel in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles.
In 1933, he published Tragedy of Russia: Impressions from a Brief Visit and soon afterward The Lesson of Russia. A few years after the books were published, social commentator Will Rogers had read them and described a symposium he had attended that included Durant as one of the contributors. He later wrote of Durant, "He is just about our best writer on Russia. He is the most fearless writer that has been there. He tells you just what it's like. He makes a mighty fine talk. One of the most interesting lecturers we have, and a fine fellow."
In 1930, he published The Case for India while he was on a visit to India as part of collecting data for The Story of Civilization. He was so taken aback by the devastating poverty and starvation he saw as result of British imperial policy in India that he took time off from his stated goal and instead concentrated on his polemic fiercely advocating Indian independence. He wrote about medieval India, "The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within."
Durant fought for equal wages, women's suffrage and fairer working conditions for the American labor force. Durant not only wrote on many topics but also put his ideas into effect. Durant, it has been said widely, attempted to bring philosophy to the common man.
He was trying to improve understanding of viewpoints of human beings and to have others forgive foibles and human waywardness. He chided the comfortable insularity of what is now known as Eurocentrism by pointing out in Our Oriental Heritage that Europe was only "a jagged promontory of Asia". He complained of "the provincialism of our traditional histories which began with Greece and summed up Asia in a line" and said they showed "a possibly fatal error of perspective and intelligence".
Much like Oswald Spengler, he saw the decline of a civilization as a culmination of strife between religion and secular intellectualism, thus toppling the precarious institutions of convention and morality:
Hence a certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization. Religion begins by offering magical aid to harassed and bewildered men; it culminates by giving to a people that unity of morals and belief which seems so favorable to statesmanship and art; it ends by fighting suicidally in the lost cause of the past. For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology, which change with geological leisureliness. Priestly control of arts and letters is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier, and intellectual history takes on the character of a "conflict between science and religion." Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control, and become secular, perhaps profane. The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and—after some hesitation—the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death. Meanwhile among the oppressed another myth arises, gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort, and after centuries of chaos builds another civilization.
More than twenty years after his death, a quote from Durant, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within" appeared as the opening graphic of Mel Gibson's 2006 film Apocalypto. Durant also served as the history consultant for Anthony Mann's 1964 film The Fall of the Roman Empire. The narration at the beginning and the end of the film is taken almost directly from Durant's work Caesar and Christ.
In an article in 1927, he wrote his thoughts about reconciling religion and Darwinism:
As to harmonizing the theory of evolution with the Biblical account of creation, I do not believe it can be done, and I do not see why it should be. The story of Genesis is beautiful, and profoundly significant as symbolism: there is no good reason to torture it into conformity with modern theory.
In Our Oriental Heritage, Durant wrote:
The discoveries here summarized have restored considerable credit to those chapters of Genesis that record the early traditions of the Jews. In its outlines, and barring supernatural incidents, the story of the Jews as unfolded in the Old Testament has stood the test of criticism and archeology; every year adds corroboration from documents, monuments, or excavations.... We must accept the Biblical account provisionally until it is disproved.
See a full bibliography at Will Durant Online
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome's decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.
Ariel Durant (; 10 May 1898 – 25 October 1981) was a Russian-born American researcher and writer. She was the coauthor of The Story of Civilization with her husband Will Durant. They were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.Baron d'Holbach
Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (French: [dɔlbak]) (8 December 1723 – 21 January 1789), was a French-German author, philosopher, encyclopedist and prominent figure in the French Enlightenment. He was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich in Edesheim, near Landau in the Rhenish Palatinate, but lived and worked mainly in Paris, where he kept a salon. He was well known for his atheism and for his voluminous writings against religion, the most famous of them being The System of Nature (1770).Constitutional Project for Corsica
Constitutional Project for Corsica (French: Project de constitution pour la Corse) is the second of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's three works on political affairs--the first being The Social Contract, and the last being Considerations on the Government of Poland.Culture of Los Angeles
The culture of Los Angeles is rich with arts and ethnically diverse. The greater Los Angeles metro area has several notable art museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Museum on the Santa Monica mountains overlooking the Pacific, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum and the Norton Simon Museum. In the 1920s and 1930s Will Durant and Ariel Durant, Arnold Schoenberg and other intellectuals were the representatives of culture, in addition to the movie writers and directors. As the city flourished financially in the middle of the 20th century, culture followed. Boosters such as Dorothy Buffum Chandler and other philanthropists raised funds for the establishment of art museums, music centers and theaters. Today, the Southland cultural scene is as complex, sophisticated and varied as any in the world.Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot (French: [dəni did(ə)ʁo]; 5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer, best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment.
Diderot began his education by obtaining a Master of Arts degree in philosophy at a Jesuit college in 1732. He considered working in the church clergy before briefly studying law. When he decided to become a writer in 1734, his father disowned him for not entering one of the learned professions. He lived a bohemian existence for the next decade. He befriended philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1742.
Though his work was broad as well as rigorous, it did not bring Diderot riches. He secured none of the posts that were occasionally given to needy men of letters; he could not even obtain the bare official recognition of merit that was implied by being chosen a member of the Académie française. He saw no alternative to selling his library to provide a dowry for his daughter. Empress Catherine II of Russia heard of his financial troubles and commissioned an agent in Paris to buy the library. She then requested that the philosopher retain the books in Paris until she required them, and act as her librarian with a yearly salary. Between October 1773 and March 1774, the sick Diderot spent a few months at the empress's court in Saint Petersburg.Diderot died of pulmonary thrombosis in Paris on 31 July 1784, and was buried in the city's Église Saint-Roch. His heirs sent his vast library to Catherine II, who had it deposited at the National Library of Russia. He has several times been denied burial in the Panthéon with other French notables. The French government considered memorializing him in this fashion on the 300th anniversary of his birth, but this did not come to pass.
Diderot's literary reputation during his lifetime rested primarily on his plays and his contributions to the Encyclopédie; many of his most important works, including Jacques the Fatalist, Rameau's Nephew, Paradox of the Actor, and D'Alembert's Dream, were published only after his death.Durant (surname)
Durant is a surname of French and English origin. It ultimately derives from the Latin omen name Durandus, meaning "enduring". Notable people with the surname include:
Adrian Durant (born 1984), sprint athlete from the U.S. Virgin Islands
Albert Durant (1892–?), Belgian water polo player
Ariel Durant (1898–1981), co-author of The Story of Civilization with husband Will Durant
Cliff Durant (1890–1937), American racecar driver
Darian Durant (born 1982), CFL football player
Don Durant (1932–2005), American actor and singer
George Durant (1632–1692), Attorney General from North Carolina
Henry Durant (1802–1875), first president of the University of California
Henry Bickersteth Durant (1871–1932), Bishop of Lahore (1913–32)
Henry Fowle Durant (1822–1881), American lawyer and philanthropist
Hugh Durant (1877–1916), British sport shooter
Isabelle Durant (born 1954), Belgian politician
Joanne Durant (born 1975), Barbadian track and field sprinter
Joe Durant (born 1964), American professional golfer
John Charles Durant (1846–1929), English printer and Liberal politician
Justin Durant (born 1985), NFL football player
Kenneth W. Durant (1919–1942), U.S. Navy sailor
Kevin Durant (born 1988), American basketball player
Louis Durant (1910–1972), American racecar driver
Michael Durant (born 1961), U.S. Army helicopter pilot held prisoner in Somalia in 1993
Mike Durant (baseball) (born 1969), former American Major League baseball player
Paul Durant (born 1959), former American racecar driver
Sam Durant (born 1961), American artist
Thomas C. Durant (1820–1885), American financier
Tony Durant (born 1928), British politician
Will Durant (1885–1981), American philosopher, historian and author, husband of Ariel Durant
William C. Durant (1861–1947), pioneer of U.S. automobile industry
William West Durant (1850–1934), American architect and designerFreedom of Worship (painting)
Freedom of Worship or Freedom to Worship is the second of the Four Freedoms oil paintings produced by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The series was based on the goals known as the Four Freedoms enunciated by the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union Address delivered on January 6, 1941. Rockwell considered this painting and Freedom of Speech the most successful of the series. Freedom of Worship was published on the 27th of February, 1943, issue of The Saturday Evening Post alongside an essay by philosopher Will Durant.Heroes of History
Heroes of History: A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age is a book by Will Durant, published in 2001 and was written as a summary of Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization. It describes important personalities and events in History. These 'Heroes' include Laozi, Muhammad, Kung fu Tze, The Buddha, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Akhenaton, Jewish prophets, Solon, Pericles, Euripides, Socrates, Julius Caesar, Augustus, The Five Good Emperors, Jesus Christ, Lorenzo de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther, William Shakespeare and Sir Francis Bacon, among others. Originally planned as a series of audio lectures, Heroes of History was supposed to have twenty-three chapters, but Durant completed only twenty one before his death in 1981.John Little (writer)
John R. Little is a writer and bodybuilding advocate. A native of Canada, Little is a writer in the fields of martial arts, bodybuilding and physical conditioning.M. Lincoln Schuster
Max Lincoln Schuster (; March 2, 1897 – December 20, 1970) was an American book publisher and the co-founder of the publishing company Simon & Schuster. Schuster was instrumental in the creation of Pocket Books, and the mass paperback industry, along with Richard L. Simon, Robert F. DeGraff and Leon Shimkin. Schuster published many famous works of history and philosophy including the Story of Civilization series of books by Will Durant and Ariel Durant.On the interpretation of Nature
On the interpretation of Nature (or Thoughts on the interpretation of Nature, French: Pensees sur l'interpretation de la nature) is a 1754 book written by Denis Diderot.
In this work Diderot expounds on his views about nature, evolution, materialism, mathematics, and experimental science.Paradox of the Actor
Paradox of the Actor (French: Paradoxe sur le comédien) is a dramatic essay by Denis Diderot elucidating a theory of acting in which it is argued that great actors do not experience the emotions they are displaying.Rais
Raʾīs (Arabic: رئیس; also spelled Raees; lit. chief, leader) is a title used by the rulers of Arab states in the Middle East and in South Asia. Swahili speakers on the Swahili Coast may also use it for president. It is translated as "president" in Arabic, and as "boss" in Persian. In Urdu, the word Rais is also used similarly to the English term "old money," as the opposite or antonym of nouveau riche, a person who has accummulated considerable wealth within his or her generation.
From Arabic, via Persian, this word came into Ottoman Turkish as Reis, and into Urdu as raees, which means a person belonging to the aristocracy of noble distinction. When the book "The Pleasure of Philosophy" by Will Durant was translated into Urdu, by Syed Abid Ali Abid, he translated the word aristocracy with the Urdu word raisiyyat (رئیسيت).
]The adjective 'Azam' great, is also added to mean 'the great rais'. This term, as well as the term יושב-ראש (Chairman), are used by Israeli media to refer to the President of the Palestinian National Authority, as opposed to נשיא (President).
In a New York Times op-ed, commentator Bret Stephens referred to Palestinian late leader Yasir Arafat as "the rais."Recceswinth
Recceswinth, also known as Reccesuinth, Recceswint, Reccaswinth, Recesvinto (Spanish, Galician and Portuguese), Recceswinthus, Reccesvinthus, and Recesvindus (Latin), (? – 1 September 672) was the Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia in 649–672. He ruled jointly with his father Chindaswinth until his father's death in 653.
Under Recceswinth, the Visigothic Kingdom enjoyed unbroken peace for 19 years (653–672) — except for a brief rebellion of the Vascons, led by a Gothic noble named Froya. During the rebellion, the Vascons penetrated as far as Saragossa, and committed great atrocities until Froya was captured and put to death.Beginning in 654, Recceswinth was responsible for the promulgation of a law code to replace the Breviary of Alaric; he placed a Visigothic common law over both Goths and Hispano-Romans in the kingdom. This Liber Judiciorum showed little Germanic influence, adhering more closely to the old Roman laws.
In his general law code of 654, he outlawed a set of essential Jewish practices, including male circumcision, dietary laws (kashrut), marriage laws and ceremonies, and the celebration of Passover.Moreover, the church councils in the capital became the most powerful force in the government and the bishops were the primary support of the monarchy. Will Durant wrote in The Age of Faith: "By their superior education and organization they dominated the nobles who sat with them in the ruling councils of Toledo; and though the king's authority was theoretically absolute, and he chose the bishops, these councils elected him, and exacted pledges of policy in advance."Recceswinth died in 672, just before the first Arab raid of Baetica.Syed Ali Abbas Jalalpuri
Prof. Syed Ali Abbas Jalalpuri (Urdu: سید علی عباس جلالپوری) was a professor of philosophy in Government College Lahore. He is regarded by the intellectuals of Pakistan as the Will Durant of Pakistan. He had master's degrees in Philosophy, Persian and Urdu. He wrote more than fourteen books on Philosophy, History, and Religion in Urdu language. He was known as a first-rate scholar, and his books seemed to herald an age of reason in Pakistan.
His opinions on the subjects of history, civilization, religion, philosophy, metaphysics, folklore are held in great esteem.
In his greatest work, Riwayat-e-Falsafa (Story of Philosophy), he tried to educate a common Urdu reader on the subject of Philosophy. This book served its purpose in popularizing the subject it discussed like Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy.
Like The Dictionnaire Historique et Critique of Pierre Bayle and The Philosophical Dictionary of Voltaire, he wrote a philosophical dictionary, 'Khird Nama Jalalpuri' to explain subject's terminologies in Urdu.
He also wrote “Jinsiyati Mutaley” (A Study of Sex), which presented a great research work on the subject in Urdu language.The Lessons of History
The Lessons of History is a 1968 book by historians Will Durant and Ariel Durant.
The book provides a summary of periods and trends in history they had noted upon completion of the 10th volume of their momentous eleven-volume The Story of Civilization. Will Durant stated that he and Ariel "made note of events and comments that might illuminate present affairs, future probabilities, the nature of man, and the conduct of states."Thus, the book presents an overview of the themes and lessons observed from 5,000 years of world history, examined from 12 perspectives: geography, biology, race, character, morals, religion, economics, socialism, government, war, growth and decay, and progress.The Story of Civilization
The Story of Civilization, by husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant, is an 11-volume set of books covering Western history for the general reader. The volumes sold well for many years, and sets of them were frequently offered by book clubs. An unabridged audiobook production of all eleven volumes was produced by the Books on Tape company and was read by Alexander Adams (aka Grover Gardner).
The series was written over a span of more than four decades. It totals four million words across nearly 10,000 pages, with 2 further books in production at the time of the authors' deaths. In the first volume (Our Oriental Heritage, which covers the history of the Middle East and Orient to 1933), Will Durant stated that he wanted to include the history of the West to the early 20th century. However, the series ends with The Age of Napoleon because the Durants both died – she in her 80s and he in his 90s – before they could complete additional volumes. They also left behind notes for a 12th volume, The Age of Darwin, and an outline for a 13th, The Age of Einstein, which would have taken The Story of Civilization to 1945.
The first six volumes of The Story of Civilization are credited to Will Durant alone, with Ariel recognized only in the Acknowledgements. Beginning with The Age of Reason Begins, Ariel is credited as a co-author.
The series won a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1968 with the 10th volume in the series, Rousseau and Revolution.
In the preface to the first volume, Durant states his intention to make the series in 5 volumes, although this would not turn out to be the case.The Story of Philosophy
The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers is a 1926 book by Will Durant, in which he profiles several prominent Western philosophers and their ideas, beginning with Socrates and Plato and on through Friedrich Nietzsche. Durant attempts to show the interconnection of their ideas and how one philosopher's ideas informed the next.
There are nine chapters each focused on one philosopher, and two more chapters each containing briefer profiles of three early 20th century philosophers.
The book was published in 1926, with a revised second edition released in 1933. The work was preceded by a number of pamphlets in the Little Blue Books series of inexpensive worker education pamphlets. They proved so popular they were assembled into a single book and published in hardcover form by Simon & Schuster in 1926.
Philosophers profiled are, in order: Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Baruch Spinoza (with a section on Descartes), Voltaire (with a section on Rousseau), Immanuel Kant (with a section on Hegel), Arthur Schopenhauer, Herbert Spencer, and Friedrich Nietzsche.
The final two chapters are devoted to European and then American philosophers. Henri Bergson, Benedetto Croce, and Bertrand Russell are covered in the tenth, and George Santayana, William James, and John Dewey are covered in the eleventh.
In a foreword to the readers in the second edition of the book, Durant expresses his acknowledgement for the criticism that the book received as to how it does not include philosophers from the Asian continent, most notably Confucius, Buddha and Adi Shankara.The System of Nature
The System of Nature or, the Laws of the Moral and Physical World (Système de la Nature ou Des Loix du Monde Physique et du Monde Moral) is a work of philosophy by Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723–1789). It was originally published under the name of Jean-Baptiste de Mirabaud, a deceased member of the French Academy of Science. D'Holbach wrote and published this book – possibly with the assistance of Diderot but with the support of Jacques-André Naigeon – anonymously in 1770, describing the universe in terms of the principles of philosophical materialism: The mind is identified with brain, there is no "soul" without a living body, the world is governed by strict deterministic laws, free will is an illusion, there are no final causes, and whatever happens takes place because it inexorably must. Most notoriously, the work explicitly denies the existence of God, arguing that belief in a higher being is the product of fear, lack of understanding, and anthropomorphism.
Though not a scientist himself, d'Holbach was scientifically literate and he tried to develop his philosophy in accordance with the known facts of nature and the scientific knowledge of the day, citing, for example, the experiments of John Needham as proof that life could develop autonomously without the intervention of a deity. It makes a critical distinction between mythology as a more or less benign way of bringing law ordered thought on society, nature and their powers to the masses and theology. Theology which, when it separates from mythology raises the power of nature above nature itself and thus alienates the two (i.e. "nature", all that actually exists, from its power, now personified in a being outside nature), is by contrast a pernicious force in human affairs without parallel. Its principles are summed up in a more popular form in d'Holbach's Bon Sens, ou idées naturelles opposees aux idées surnaturelles.
Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (1962–1975)