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A History of Knowledge: Past, Present, and Future by Charles Van Doren

By Charles Van Doren

A one-voume connection with the heritage of principles that could be a compendium of every little thing that humankind has concept, invented, created, thought of, and perfected from the start of civilization into the twenty-first century. immense in its scope, and but completely obtainable, A background of data covers not just the entire nice theories and discoveries of the human race, but additionally explores the social stipulations, political climates, and person women and men of genius that introduced rules to fruition all through history.
"Crystal transparent and concise...Explains how humankind obtained to understand what it knows."
Clifton Fadiman
Selected by way of the Book-of-the-Month membership and the historical past booklet membership

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Birth alone fits a man for nothing; only he may advance in life and occupy a superior position who is inherently superior. This principle did not need to be observed at all times and places. It made sense for the emperor to reserve the highest posts for his family. That was practical. Who would act otherwise? But the idea that superiors were superior because they de­ served to be, obtained widespread acceptance. I t was perhaps somewhat harder to accept the idea that superiority should be exhibited by superior knowledge of Confucian texts.

If we have seen physics advance farther than the Greeks ever dreamed it could, the Greeks probably carried philosophy, especially ethical philosophy, farther than we have been able to do. When we recognize that the progress in the physical sciences that we have made, and of which we are justly proud, has been partly based on Greek ideas that went underground for more than a thousand years and were revived and reapplied in our own time, the Greek knowledge explo­ sion may even seem to be the more widely influential of the two.

But the signs of her work are all around us. The Problem of Thales The mainland of Greece is a peninsula, deeply indented by the sea, that j uts down into the Mediterranean from the Eurasian landmass. Its eastern coast faces Anatolia, the westernmost province of modern Turkey, lying south of the Dardanelles. Between Greece and Anatolia there is a sea full of islands and resplendent with light-the Aegean. Perhaps it is the most famous body of water of its size in the world . Some ten or a dozen centuries before the birth of Christ, men and women who spoke Greek voyaged across the Aegean and established colonies on the western coast of Anatolia.

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