This wonderfully conceived book will turn your mind into a trap of steely logic.
Using a novel approach, this book is aimed at teaching newcomers to the field of critical thinking the importance of logical reasoning. It selects a small set of common errors in reasoning and visualises them using memorable illustrations, supplemented with lots of examples.
The illustrations are partly inspired by allegories, such as Orwell’s Animal Farm, and partly by the humorous nonsense in works such as Lewis Carroll’s stories and poems.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
—Richard P. Feynman
Who is this book for?
This book is aimed at newcomers to the field of logical reasoning, particularly those who understand best through visuals. A small set of common errors in reasoning have been selected and visualised using memorable illustrations that are supplemented with lots of examples. The hope is that the reader will learn from these pages some of the most common pitfalls in arguments and be able to identify and avoid them in practice.
Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called the rainbow colours around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Edward O. Wilson bridges science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence.
Once criticised for his over-reliance on genetics, Wilson unfurls here his most expansive and advanced theories on human behaviour, recognising that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web.
Whether attempting to explicate the Riddle of the Human Species, warning of the Collapse of Biodiversity, or even creating a plausible Portrait of E.T., Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. Alarmed, however, that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.
A unique approach to the philosophy of science that focuses on the liveliest and most important controversies surrounding science. Is science more rational or objective than any other intellectual endeavor? Are scientific theories accurate depictions of reality or just useful devices for manipulating the environment?
These core questions are the focus of this unique approach to the philosophy of science. Unlike standard textbooks, this book does not attempt a comprehensive review of the entire field, but makes a selection of the most vibrant debates and issues. The author tackles such stimulating questions as: Can science meet the challenges of skeptics? Should science address questions traditionally reserved for philosophy and religion? Further, does science leave room for human values, free will, and moral responsibility? Written in an accessible, jargon-free style, the text succinctly presents complex ideas in an easily understandable fashion. By using numerous examples taken from diverse areas such as evolutionary theory, paleontology and astronomy, the author piques our curiosity in current scientific controversies.
Concise bibliographic essays at the end of each chapter invite readers to sample ideas different from the ones offered in the text and to explore the range of opinions on each topic. Rigorous yet highly readable, this excellent invitation to the philosophy of science makes a convincing case that understanding the nature of science is essential for understanding life itself.
Nietzsche is not difficult to read, but he is famously difficult to understand. This is because of the bewildering array of words, phrases or metaphors that he uses. The Nietzsche Dictionary aims to help, by giving readers a road map to Nietzsche's language, and how his terminology and images relate together, forming an overall philosophical picture. The Dictionary also includes synopses of Nietzsche's key works, and short articles on the main philosophical and cultural influences leading up to, and resulting from, Nietzsche. Easy to use and navigate, the book treats all entries thematically and arranges them into seven types: Influences on, or the contemporary context of, Nietzsche; Major influences of Nietzsche; Key concepts; Key metaphors or images; Alternative translations; Other words or phrases found in Nietzsche that are cross-referenced to a main entry; Synopses of major works by Nietzsche. Designed to be a resource that all readers of Nietzsche will find invaluable, this text is an essential tool for everyone, from beginners to the more advanced.
This is the first English translation of the seminar Martin Heidegger gave during the Winter of 1934-35, which dealt with Hegel's Philosophy of Right. This remarkable text is the only one in which Heidegger interprets Hegel's masterpiece in the tradition of Continental political philosophy while offering a glimpse into Heidegger's own political thought following his engagement with Nazism. It also confronts the ideas of Carl Schmitt, allowing readers to reconstruct the relation between politics and ontology. The book is enriched by a collection of interpretations of the seminar, written by select European and North American political thinkers and philosophers. Their essays aim to make the seminar accessible to students of political theory and philosophy, as well as to open new directions for debating the relation between the two disciplines. A unique contribution, this volume makes available key lectures by Heidegger that will interest a wide readership of students and scholars.
Philosophy Bites Again is a brand new selection of interviews from the popular podcast of the same name. It offers engaging and thought-provoking conversations with leading philosophers on a selection of major philosophical issues that affect our lives. Their subjects include pleasure, pain, and humour; consciousness and the self; free will, responsibility, and punishment; the meaning of life and the afterlife. Everyone will find ideas in this book to fascinate, provoke, and inspire them. Philosophy Bites was set up in 2007 by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton. It has, to date, over 20 million downloads, and is listened to all over the world.
In Why Grow Up, the latest volume in the Philosophy in Transit series, world-renowned philosopher Susan Neiman looks at growing up as an ideal with urgent relevance today. Becoming an adult today can seem a grim prospect. As you grow up, you are told to renounce most of the hopes and dreams of your youth, and resign yourself to a life that will be a pale dilution of the adventurous, important and enjoyable life you once expected. But who wants to do any of that? No wonder we live in a culture of rampant immaturity, argues internationally-renowned philosopher Susan Neiman, when maturity looks so boring. In Why Grow Up, Neiman explores the forces that are arrayed against maturity, and shows how philosophy can help us want to grow up. Travel, both literally and as a metaphor, has been seen as a crucial step to coming of age by thinkers as diverse as Kant, Rousseau, Hume and Simone de Beauvoir. Neiman discusses childhood, adolescence, sex, and culture, and asks how the idea of travel can help us build a model of maturity that makes growing up a good option and leaves space in our culture for grown-ups. Refuting the widespread belief that the best time of your life is the decade between sixteen and twenty-six, she argues that being grown-up is itself an ideal: one that is rarely achieved in its entirety, but all the more worth striving for. Susan Neiman is an American moral philosopher who has taught at Yale and Tel Aviv University. She currently lives in Germany, where she is the Director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam.
This is the exhilarating, life-affirming call to spiritual arms from world-renowned spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. 'Gurdjieff's voice is heard as a call. He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls to us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are...' Part adventure narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual guide, Meetings with Remarkable Men is suffused with Gurdjieff's unique perspective on life. With vivacity and charm, he organizes his account around portraits of the remarkable men and women who accompanied him through remote parts of the Near East and Central Asia, and who aided his search for hidden knowledge. Among them are Gurdjieff's own father (a traditional bard), a Russian prince dedicated to the search for Truth, a Christian missionary who entered a World Brotherhood deep in Asia, and a woman who escaped slavery to become a trusted member of Gurdjieff's group of fellow seekers. Meetings with Remarkable Men conveys a haunting sense of what it means to live fully - with conscience, with purpose and with heart.
As an introduction to his own notoriously complex and challenging philosophy, Hegel recommended the sections on phenomenology and psychology from The Philosophy of Spirit, the third part of his Encyclopaedia of the Philosophic Sciences. These offered the best introduction to his philosophic system, whose main parts are Logic, Nature, and Sprit. Hegel's Introduction to the System finally makes it possible for the modern reader to approach the philosopher's work as he himself suggested. The book includes a fresh translation of Phenomenology and Psychology, an extensive section-by-section commentary, and a sketch of the system to which this work is an introduction. The book provides a lucid and elegant analysis that will be of use to both new and seasoned readers of Hegel.
Can it ever be right to kill? Is terrorism ever justified? Should euthanasia be legal? Are some people superior to others? Do animals have rights? Some ethical judgements are easy: one side is wrong and the other is right. But how do we handle the really tough 'right vs right' dilemmas, where each side has strong moral arguments? In Without God, is Everything Permitted? bestselling author and philosopher Julian Baggini clear-sightedly and compassionately examines 20 of the most complex contemporary ethical dilemmas. Whether it's asking if torture is always wrong, or if discrimination can ever be good, this book will help you sort out what you really believe about the issues that matter most.
Metaphysics isn't ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer. Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist? Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal - and failed. From there he turns to mysticism's attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, Theosophy and even the philosophers at UC Berkeley under whom he studied. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights on - surprise! - comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples from The Big Bang Theory, Monty Python's cheese shop and many other pop-culture sources. Kaplan delves deeper into what all this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life's biggest questions: If we're all going to die, what's the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?
Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multi-city speaking tour. How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a 'tiger mum' on how to raise the perfect child? How would he handle the host of a right-wing news program who denies there can be morality without religion? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowdsourced rather than reasoned out by experts? Plato at the Googleplex is acclaimed thinker Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's dazzling investigation of these conundra. With a philosopher's depth and erudition and a novelist's imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world; it is a stunningly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today's debates on religion, morality, politics and science.
In this major new work the leading philosopher Slavoj Zizek argues that philosophical materialism has failed to meet the key scientific, theoretical and political challenges of the modern world, from relativity theory and quantum physics to Freudian psychoanalysis and the failure of twentieth-century Communism. To bring materialism up to date, Zizek proposes a new foundation for dialectical materialism. He argues that dialectical materialism is the only true philosophical inheritor of what Hegel designates as the speculative approach of thought - all other forms of materialism fail. In Absolute Recoil, Zizek offers a startling reformulation of the ground and possibilities of contemporary philosophy.
The most forceful philosophical objections to belief in God arise from the existence of evil. Bad things happen in the world and it is not clear how this is compatible with the existence of an all-powerful and perfectly loving being. Unsurprisingly then, philosophers have formulated powerful arguments for atheism based on the existence of apparently unjustified suffering. These arguments give expression to what we call the problem of evil. This volume is an engaging introduction to the philosophical problem of evil. Daniel Speak provides a clear overview of the main lines of reasoning in this debate and argues for the defensibility of theistic belief in the face of evil. He fleshes out the distinction between theodicy and defense and guides the reader through the logical, evidential, and hiddenness versions of the problem. In an accessible and beautifully written account, Speak describes the central issues surrounding the problem of evil in a way that clarifies both the complex reasoning and specialised terminology of the topic. The Problem of Evil is an ideal introduction to contemporary debates over one of the most gripping perennial questions. Read either on its own or alongside the primary materials it deftly covers, students and scholars will find this volume a terrific resource for understanding the challenges to religious belief raised by evil.
How ought we to live? Should we aim to maximise happiness? Are there certain characteristics that we should try to foster within ourselves? From Utilitarianism to Kant's Categorical Imperative, from the Ancient Greeks to Sartre, Peter Cave presents ethics through a fascinating global historical lens, and relates it to everyday life and 21st century politics. He traces the development of this key branch of philosophy up to the present day, introducing readers to all the main schools of thought. With his characteristic wit and clarity, Cave takes on good and evil, existentialism and relativism, and handily guides us around some of the most common potholes in ethical reasoning. Applying moral theory to topical and controversial issues like the environment, abortion, and animal welfare, this is the essential primer to the subject.
Alain Badiou (1937- ) is one of the most high profile and controversial philosophers writing in France today. A leading light in the generation of thinkers who come of intellectual age in 1968, his work deftly draws on a wide range of intellectual traditions and thinkers from Plato and Lucretius, through Heidegger to Lacan and Deleuze. Now available in the Bloomsbury Revelations series, Infinite Thought is a vivid demonstration of that range. Here Badiou introduces his own thought on the full gamut of intellectual concerns, from politics, psychoanalysis and art to truth, desire and the definition of philosophy itself. As well as Badiou's reflections on the fall of communism and the 'War on Terror', the book also includes an interview with the author.
Slavoj Zizek is one of the world's foremost cultural commentators: a prolific writer and thinker, whose adventurous, unorthodox and wide-ranging writings have won him a unique place as one of the most high profile thinkers of our time. The Universal Exception brings together some of Zizek's most vivid writings on politics. Bringing together high theory, popular culture and passionate engagement with politics, Zizek here brings us startlingly new perspectives on such topics as multiculturalism, capitalism and Bill Gates, the revolutionary potential of Stalinism, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Including a glossary of key terms, the Bloomsbury Revelations edition also includes a new preface by the author.
A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of the mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the I as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate--either in the waking state or in a lucid dream--we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as me. We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness the dissolution of the self with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.