ABBEY'S CHOICE DECEMBER 2016
----- From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations, and ideas, the human condition is improving. This process is supposedly accelerating as new technologies, individual freedoms, and the spread of global norms empower individuals and societies around the world. But is progress inevitable?
Its critics argue that human civilization has become different, not better, over the last two and a half centuries. What is seen as a breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality. So is the cup half full or half empty?
As part of the Munk Debates series, held in Toronto biannually, pioneering cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and bestselling author Matt Ridley squared off against noted philosopher Alain de Botton and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, giving us an entertaining and thought-provoking face-off between four of the world's most renowned thinkers.
Philosophy explores the deepest, most fundamental questions of reality and this accessible and entertaining chronology presents 250 milestones of the most important theories, events, and seminal publications in the field over the last 3,500 years. The brief, engaging entries cover a range of topics and cultures, from the Hindu Vedas and Plato’s theory of forms to Ockham’s Razor, Pascal’s Wager, Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature, existentialism, feminism, Philosophical Zombies, and the Triple Theory of Ethics. Beautifully illustrated and filled with unexpected insights, The Philosophy Book will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers.
Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality is one of the most influential philosophical works of the twentieth century and has been instrumental in shaping the study of Gender, Feminist Theory and Queer Theory. But Foucault's writing can be a difficult book to grasp as Foucault assumes a familiarity with the intellectually dominant theories of his time which renders many passages obscure for newcomers to his work. The Routledge Guidebook to Foucault's The History of Sexuality offers a clear and comprehensive guide to this groundbreaking work, examining: * The historical context in which Foucault wrote * A critical discussion of the text, which examines the relationship between The History of Sexuality, The Use of Pleasure and The Care of The Self * The reception and ongoing influence of The History of Sexuality Offering a close reading of the text, this is essential reading for anyone studying this enormously influential work.
Here's an accusation - Sherlock Holmes never deduced anything. When it comes to language, it all depends on what your definition of 'is' is. And one for the existentialists - you haven't lived until you think about death all the time. Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart take philosophy to task with flair and gusto in this wise and hilarious treasure of a book. Lively, original, and powerfully informative, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar...is an irreverent crash course through the great thinkers and traditions. It's philosophy for everyone, from the curious layperson to the professor who's seen it all. Klein and Cathcart have the knack of getting to the core of an issue in a crystal clear line, meaning there's more room for jokes - good jokes, clever jokes, jokes that'll have you laughing so hard the people nearby will shoot you strange looks. It's the philosophy class you wish you'd had and finally, it all makes sense!
The Critical Thinking Toolkit is a comprehensive compendium that equips readers with the essential knowledge and methods for clear, analytical, logical thinking and critique in a range of scholarly contexts and everyday situations. * Takes an expansive approach to critical thinking by exploring concepts from other disciplines, including evidence and justification from philosophy, cognitive biases and errors from psychology, race and gender from sociology and political science, and tropes and symbols from rhetoric * Follows the proven format of The Philosopher s Toolkit and The Ethics Toolkit with concise, easily digestible entries, see also recommendations that connect topics, and recommended reading lists * Allows readers to apply new critical thinking and reasoning skills with exercises and real life examples at the end of each chapter * Written in an accessible way, it leads readers through terrain too often cluttered with jargon * Ideal for beginning to advanced students, as well as general readers, looking for a sophisticated yet accessible introduction to critical thinking
Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) is the father of modern political thought, but he is also one of the greatest writers of the Renaissance and his wisdom and style extend far beyond politics to encompass a compelling philosophy of life as well. In The Quotable Machiavelli, Maurizio Viroli, one of the world's leading Machiavelli scholars, offers a rich collection of the Florentine's most memorable words on a wide range of subjects, including politics, the human condition, religion, love and happiness, antiquity and history, patriotism, and virtue. Drawing on Machiavelli's entire body of writings, and including little-known quotations as well as famous passages, the book shows the full scope of his thought, one that powerfully belies the false cliche that he was a "Machiavellian" cynic. In addition to Machiavelli's own words on dozens of subjects of perennial interest, the book includes some almost unknown texts in which his contemporaries describe him. Complete with a biographical introduction, the book serves not only as a handy reference but also as a smart and lively introduction to a masterly thinker and writer.
How can we live in such a way that we die only once? How can we organize a society that gives us a better chance to be fully alive? How can we reinvent religion so that it liberates us instead of consoling us? These questions stand at the center of Roberto Mangabeira Unger's The Religion of the Future: an argument for both spiritual and political revolution. It proposes the content of a religion that can survive faith in a transcendent God and in life after death. According to this religion-the religion of the future-human beings can be more human by becoming more godlike, not just later, in another life or another time, but right now, on Earth and in their own lives. They can become more godlike without denying the irreparable flaws in the human condition: our mortality, groundlessness, and insatiability.
In his latest book, Eric Scerri presents a completely original account of the nature of scientific progress. It consists of a holistic and unified approach in which science is seen as a living and evolving single organism. Instead of scientific revolutions featuring exceptionally gifted individuals, Scerri argues that the 'little people' contribute as much as the 'heroes' of science. To do this he examines seven case studies of virtually unknown chemists and physicists in the early 20th century quest to discover the structure of the atom. They include the amateur scientist Anton van den Broek who pioneered the notion of atomic number as well as Edmund Stoner a then physics graduate student who provided the seed for Pauli's Exclusion Principle. Another case is the physicist John Nicholson who is virtually unknown and yet was the first to propose the notion of quantization of angular momentum that was soon put to good use by Niels Bohr. Instead of focusing on the logic and rationality of science, Scerri elevates the role of trial and error and multiple discovery and moves beyond the notion of scientific developments being right or wrong. While criticizing Thomas Kuhn's notion of scientific revolutions he agrees with Kuhn that science is not drawn towards an external truth but is rather driven from within. The book will enliven the long-standing debate on the nature of science, which has increasingly shied away from the big question of what is science?