A. C. Grayling, Britain's most popular and widely read philosopher, has created a secular bible that draws on the wisdom of 2,500 years of contemplative non-religious writing about all that it means to be human - from the origins of the universe to small matters of courtesy and kindness in everyday life. Designed to be read as narrative and also to be dipped into for inspiration, encouragement and consolation, The Good Book offers a thoughtful, non-religious alternative to the many people who do not follow one of the world's great religions. Instead, going back to traditions older than Christianity, and far richer and more various, including the non-theistic philosophical and literary schools of the great civilisations of both West and East, from the Greek philosophy of classical antiquity and its contemporaneous Confucian, Mencian and Mohist schools in China, down through classical Rome, the flourishing of Indian and Arab worlds, the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, the worldwide scientific discoveries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the present, Grayling collects, edits, rearranges and organises the collective secular wisdom of the world in one highly readable volume.
In a major new work from the author of Godel, Escher, Bach and I Am a Strange Loop, two leading scholars argue that analogy is the basis for all human thoughts. From this singular premise, Pulitzer-Prize winning author Doug Hofstadter and French psychologist Emmanuel Sander construct a broad argument that explains how analogies help us find order out of the chaos of the world. From the simplest forms (a single word, category, or phrase) to infinitely complex constructions (an idiom, or proverb, or algorithm) analogies are the tools our brains use to interpret and master daily life. We are faced with a swirling and intermingling multitude of ill-defined situations, none of which comes with a sharp frame delineating it, either spatially or temporally. Our brain is constantly grappling with this unpredictable chaos, always trying to make sense of what surrounds it and swarms into it. How do we make sense of this? The authors argue that these situations provoke an automatic triggering, or unconscious evocation, of certain familiar categories, which, once retrieved from dormancy, help us to organise the enormous potential of our brain. To a large extent, this means the spontaneous coming-to-mind of all sorts of words. And from the simplest of words to the most complex of idiomatic constructions, the retrieval and usage of analogies are the common thread in all of our thoughts. But where do these words come from, and how do they bubble up? What is going on when one merely thinks silently to oneself, 'a mother and her daughter'? These are the question Hofstadter and Sander grapple with. With his trademark wit and singular talent for making complex ideas both accessible and yet still provocatively challenging, Hofstadter has partnered with Sander to create a major new contribution to the study of how the mind works.
Since the beginning of time mankind has struggled with the big questions surrounding our existence. Whilst most people have heard of Socrates, Machiavelli and Nietzsche, many are less clear on their theories and key concepts. In The Great Philosophers, bestselling author Stephen Law condenses and deciphers their fundamental ideas. Avoiding the technical jargon and complex logic associated with most books on philosophy, Law brings the thoughts of these great thinkers, from Confucius and Buddha to Wittgenstein and Sartre, to life.
'Alain Badiou: Between Theology and Anti-theology' provides one of the first comprehensive analyses of the relationship between Badiou's philosophy and theology. Examining the full range of Badiou's writings, this provocative study explores how Badiou's philosophy relies on theology even if he claims otherwise and actively attempts to work against theology. Despite the complex questions discussed - ranging across ontology, the theory of truth and the subject, philosophy and its conditions, and anti-philosophy - this book presents a clear and accessible overview of the theological, religious and biblical themes which animate Badiou's philosophy.
This volume interrogates settled ways of thinking about the seemingly interminable conflict between religious and secular values in our world today. What are the assumptions and resources internal to secular conceptions of critique that help or hinder our understanding of one of the most pressing conflicts of our times? Taking as their point of departure the question of whether critique belongs exclusively to forms of liberal democracy that define themselves in opposition to religion, these authors consider the case of the Danish cartoon controversy of 2005. They offer accounts of reading, understanding, and critique for offering a way to rethink conventional oppositions between free speech and religious belief, judgment and violence, reason and prejudice, rationality and embodied life. The book, first published in 2009, has been updated for the present edition with a new Preface by the authors.
In the title essay of Reflections of a Metaphysical Flaneur , Raymond Tallis uses the motif of the stroll, the amble, to connect a series of meditations on the freedoms that only humans possess. In subsequent essays, the flaneur thinks about his brain, his relationship to the rest of the animal kingdom, his profession of medicine and about the physical world and the claims of physical science to have rendered philosophical reflection obsolete. The book is a continuation of Tallis's endeavours to elaborate a vision of humanity that rejects religious myths while not succumbing to scientism or any other form of naturalism. Written with the author's customary intellectual energy and vigour these essays provoke, stimulate and challenge us to think in new ways.
The first authoritative and comprehensive survey of the origins and current state of transhumanist thinking The rapid pace of emerging technologies is playing an increasingly important role in overcoming fundamental human limitations. Featuring core writings by seminal thinkers in the speculative possibilities of the posthuman condition, essays address key philosophical arguments for and against human enhancement, explore the inevitability of life extension, and consider possible solutions to the growing issues of social and ethical implications and concerns. Edited by the internationally acclaimed founders of the philosophy and social movement of transhumanism, The Transhumanist Reader is an indispensable guide to our current state of knowledge of the quest to expand the frontiers of human nature.