Frederick Copleston's original nine-volume A History of Philosophy began as an attempt to provide Catholic seminary students, whom Copleston believed were being woefully undersold in philosophy, a comprehensive but accessible guide to the ideas and individuals that have shaped philosophy. His work went on to be regarded by many a single best history of philosophy ever written in English.
Coplsteon's work sought provides a detailed, and by consensus fair, treatment of the major philosophers and their ideas from the Pre-Socratics all the way up to Levi-Strauss. He skillfully avoids simplistic caricatures and his narrative sparkles with incident and intellectual excitement giving each philosopher a full hearing with erudition, attention to style, while illuminating each figure has to those who came before and to those who came after.
Nevertheless Copleston, who is well known for his public debates and resounding defenses for the existence of God, never hides his own perspectives--but he also does not use it to truncate or distort others' views. Thus, Copleston's work is remarkably well-rounded, complete, and scholarly. Though originally intended for students, Copleston's work is a staple work for any library; especially those who wish to learn about and engage philosophical questions in an informed manner.
About Volume VII
In A History of Philosophy, Volume VII: Modern Philosophy-From the Post-Kantian Idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche takes up the second major period in the Enlightenment: the post-Kantian idealists followed by their immediate disciples. This includes figures such as Fichte, and Schelling, along with the incomparable Hegel, Schleiermacher, Shopenhauer, and then finally to reactions against the Enlightenment beginning with Kierkegaard. This is followed by examinations of Dialectic thinking, Neo-Kantianism, Metaphysics, and then Nietzsche. The story of each is, of course, deeply intertwined and Copleston does a brilliant job a stitching together the historical narrative while explaining the appropriate ideas with precision.
Challenges the complexities of German philosophy in the wake of post-Kantian idealism in the 19th century.