What am I? What is consciousness? What is the difference between past and future? Does the world presuppose a creator? Do we always act out of self-interest? This is a book about the big questions in life: knowledge, consciousness, fate, God, truth, goodness, justice. It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them. Written by the author of the bestselling Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Think sets out to explain what they are and why they are important. Simon Blackburn begins by putting forward a convincing case for the study of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Plato, Hume, Kant, and Descartes have approached its central themes. Each chapter explains a major issue, and gives the reader a self-contained guide through the problems that philosophers have studied. The large range of topics covered range from scepticism, the self, mind and body, and freedom to ethics and the arguments surrounding the existence of God. Written in a lively and approachable manner, this book is ideal for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking shape our existence.
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(181mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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UK Kirkus Review »
In this imaginative introduction to philosophy Blackburn communicates his enthusiasm for the subject while avoiding the lapses into obscurity or patronizing superficiality which beset this genre. He has succeeded in presenting philosophical ideas as relevant, interesting and, above all, important. He uses numerous examples, thought experiments and anecdotes in this guide through the central philosophical questions about knowledge, the mind, free will, the self, God, reasoning, our perception of the world and ethics. Philosophy is presented as a living subject, rather than as a museum of ideas; most of the great philosophers nevertheless make an appearance. This is real philosophy, not the pseudo-profundity served up by certain media gurus. The book is, as its title suggests, intended to make the reader think for him or herself. It is an introduciton to some of the most important questions anyone can ask, but it isn't an alternative to thinking about them. For those who feel they need a more basic introduction to the subject, Thomas Nagel's What Does It All Mean? (Oxford University Press, 1987, 0195052161, paperback 5.99 102pp) remains the shortest and most accessible alternative to Blackburn's book. Both books convey the spirit of philosophy as a subject which targets cosy complacency. Review by Nigel Warburton whose books include 'Thinking from A to Z' and 'Philosophy: The Classics' (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn is the Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1969 to 1990. His books for OUP are Spreading the Word (1984), Essays in Quasi-Realism (1993), The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (hbk 1994, pbk 1996), and Ruling Passions (1998). He edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990.