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The Myths We Live By

A Contrarian's Guide to Democracy, Free Speech and Other Liberal Fictions

Peter Cave



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Atlantic Books
29 September 2020
In this witty and mischievous book, philosopher Peter Cave dissects the most controversial disputes today and uses philosophical argument to reveal that many issues are less straightforward than we'd like to believe. Leaving no sacred cow standing, Cave uses ingenious stories and examples to challenge our most strongly held assumptions. Is democracy inherently a good thing? What is the basis of so-called human rights? Is discrimination always bad? Are we morally obliged to accept refugees?

In an age of identity politics and so-called 'fake news', this book is an essential resource for reinvigorating genuine public debate - and an entertaining challenge to accepted wisdom.
By:   Peter Cave
Imprint:   Atlantic Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   345g
ISBN:   9781786495228
ISBN 10:   1786495228
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   29 September 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
0: Prologue: On hiding what we know 1: What's so good about democracy? 2: How democracy lies 3: Freedom and discrimination: burqas, bikinis and Anonymous 4: Should we want what we want? 5: Lives and luck: can Miss Fortuna be tamed? 6: The Land of Justice 7: Plucking the goose: what's so bad about taxation? 8: 'This land is our land' 9: Community identity: nationalism and cosmopolitanism 10: What's so good about equal representation? 11: Human duties - oops - human rights 12: Free speech: the Tower of Babel; the Serpent of Silence 13: Regrets, apologies and past abuses 14: 'Because I'm a woman': trans identities 15: Happy Land 16: Epilogue: In denial 17: Notes and References 18: Acknowledgements 19: Index

Peter Cave lectures in philosophy for New York University (London) and the Open University. He is the author of numerous articles - some academic and serious, others humorous - and several philosophy books, including the bestseller Can a Robot Be Human? He has scripted and presented philosophy programmes for BBC Radio 4 and often appears in the media, taking part in public debates, providing some philosophical approaches often on matters of ethics, religion and politics.

Reviews for The Myths We Live By: A Contrarian's Guide to Democracy, Free Speech and Other Liberal Fictions

At its best, The Myths We Live By resembles a lively tutorial, with the genial Professor Cave challenging readers' prejudices... Useful and educational. * Sydney Morning Herald * Engaging and mentally stimulating * New Scientist on Do Llamas Fall in Love? * With characteristic wit, philosopher Peter Cave takes readers on a journey of discovery through a maze of perplexities. This is a profound book. * Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Professor Emeritus, University of Wales * Highly entertaining, informative and challenging... If you want to check whether your beliefs about democracy, human rights and free speech aren't just prejudices - mere myths you happen to have signed up to - this is a great place to start. * Stephen Law, author of The Complete Philosophy Files * Britain's wittiest philosopher * Raymond Tallis, bestselling author of The Kingdom of Infinite Space * An elegant and erudite expose of the hypocrisies and evasions that infect the social and political thinking of our times. * John Cottingham, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Reading University * Lively... Cave forces his readers to interrogate cherished beliefs and see how many of the principles enshrined in public life are not only inconsistent but incoherent, even paradoxical. * The Herald *

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