A sparkling, original tour through 2,500 years of Western thought, from Socrates to Derrida, from happiness and love in ancient Greece to truth and forgiveness in the twentieth century. Twenty-seven of today's leading philosophers each introduce and explore ideas from one of history's greatest minds.
Philosophy attempts to make sense of the central quandaries of the human experience: how to define the good life, identify the ordering principles of the universe, determine to what extent our perceptions or observations may be trusted, and "understand what the basic structure of reality is like." Edmonds and Warburton seek to democratize this intellectual tradition by producing short, easily digestible podcasts in which specialists outline aspects of their field. The improbably popular Philosophy Bites blog has already spawned one successful book, and the sequel employs a similar format in compiling 27 brief transcripts about the life and work of famous philosophers. These thought-provoking briefs have a somewhat guarded quality, as the participants are usually proponents but not entirely partisans of their subjects. All but one of the pieces focus on individuals rather than schools or ideas, and some choppiness is inevitable. While some explanations are gnomic, and complex thought processes are highly abbreviated, the synthesis is usually illuminating. John Campbell on George Berkeley's "blobs of sensation" and Clare Carlisle on Soren Kierkegaard's "paradoxical... morally abhorrent" faith are especially engaging. Those looking for a more universalist approach to the subject, or for a discussion of Eastern thought, should be warned that the philosophers highlighted all come from within the European canon and are disproportionately British. Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham, U.K. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Oxford University Press
January 01, 2013
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