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Philosophy
The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times

The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times

A. C. Grayling

$29.99

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A. C. Grayling's lucid and stimulating books, based on the idea that philosophy should engage with the world and make itself useful, are immensely popular. The Challenge of Things joins earlier collections like The Reason of Things and Thinking of Answers, but this time to collect Grayling's recent writings on the world in a time of war and conflict.

In describing and exposing the dark side of things, he also explores ways out of the habits and prejudices of mind that would otherwise trap us forever in the deadly impasses of conflicts of all kinds. Whether he is writing about the First World War and its legacy, free speech, the advantages of an atheist prime minister or the role of science in the arts, his essays are always enlightening, enlivening and hopeful.
The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom

The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom

John Gray

$35.00

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Everyone thinks they want to be free, but what is it that they really want? In this provocative and freewheeling book, John Gray draws together currents of thought from religion, philosophy and fantastic literature that question the meaning of human freedom.

The Soul of the Marionette explores ancient and modern Gnosticism, the mythical power of tailors' dummies, the use of mirrors for divination and Aztec ritual sacrifice, the cyborg economy and the functions of war, the peculiar logic of conspiracies, the threat and temptation of a society based on universal surveillance and the lure of a virtual life on the Internet, among other perplexing and thought-stirring topics.

Do human beings want more choice in their lives, Gray asks - or do they, like the fairground puppets that the poet Heinrich von Kleist admired for their strange spontaneity, really dream of being free from the burden of choice altogether?
Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will

Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will

Julian Baggini

$29.99

Do we have free will? It's a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries and feeds into numerous political, social, and personal concerns.

Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? How much responsibility should we take for our actions? Are our neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehensive, intentional psychological change always open to us? What role does our brain play in the construction of free will, and how much scientific evidence is there for the existence of it? What exactly are we talking about when we talk about 'freedom' anyway?

In this cogent and compelling book, Julian Baggini explores the concept of free will from every angle, blending philosophy, neuroscience, sociology and cognitive science. Freedom Regained brings the issues raised by the possibilities - and denials - of free will to vivid life, drawing on scientific research and fascinating encounters with expert witnesses, from artists to addicts, prisoners to dissidents. 

Contemporary thinking tells us that free will is an illusion, and Baggini challenges this position, providing instead a new, more positive understanding of our sense of personal freedom: a freedom worth having.
The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics

The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics

Kenan Malik

$22.99

In this remarkable and groundbreaking book, Kenan Malik explores the history of moral thought as it has developed over three millennia, from Homer's Greece to Mao's China, from ancient India to modern America. It tells the stories of the great philosophers, and breathes life into their ideas, while also challenging many of our most cherished moral beliefs. Engaging and provocative, The Quest for a Moral Compass confronts some of humanity's deepest questions. Where do values come from? Is God necessary for moral guidance? Are there absolute moral truths? It also brings morality down to earth, showing how, throughout history, social needs and political desires have shaped moral thinking. It is a history of the world told through the history of moral thought, and a history of moral thought that casts new light on global history. At a time of great social turbulence and moral uncertainty, there will be few histories more important than this.
The Ancient Art of Growing Old

The Ancient Art of Growing Old

Tom Payne

$24.99

Bette Davis said 'Old age ain't no place for sissies'. If that's true, we could all use a little help as we approach our twilight years. Translator Tom Payne turns to Cicero, Ovid, Seneca, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aristophanes to learn what the wisest minds of antiquity could tell us about the pleasures and pains of old age. His discoveries are not always palatable (old age is an incurable disease) or inspiring (you'll live longer if you don't go to dinner parties), but in the surviving works of the classical world there is also comforting, invigorating and poignant counsel on mental decline, medicine, late love affairs, death and legacy. Presented in a modern, accessible and playful tone, this lively tour around ancient attitudes to ageing, supplemented by a translation of Cicero's On Old Age, reveals the true art of growing old gracefully.
           
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