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Philosophy Bites Back Hardcover – January 6, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199693005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199693009
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.9 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Engaging and accessible... Readers can enjoy each chapter individually or read the entire book for an understanding of major figures of Western philosophy. As was the first, this book is highly recommended for all general readers with an interest in philosophy. Scott Duimstra, Library Journal As a fan of the Philosophy Bites podcast, I'm very pleased to see this publication of conversations with leading scholars on major figures in the history of philosophy. The result is not only a good introduction to that history, but a rare chance to read top-level philosophers speaking extemporaneously about the subjects they know best. Even regular listeners to the podcast will be glad to have this written version of highlights from the series. Peter Adamson

About the Author

David Edmonds is an award-winning documentary maker for the BBC World Service. He is the author or co-author (with John Eidinow) of several books, including Wittgenstein's Poker (short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award), Bobby Fischer Goes To War (long-listed for the Samuel Johnson prize), and Rousseau's Dog (about the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume). He is currently a Research Associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University and a Contributing Editor for Prospect Magazine.

Nigel Warburton is a freelance philosopher, podcaster, and writer. His books include A Little History of Philosophy, Philosophy: the Basics, Thinking from A to Z, Philosophy: the Classics, The Art Question, and Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman VINE VOICE on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Many years ago, the professor in my introduction to philosophy class taught that philosophical texts could not be skimmed or read quickly on the bus on the way to class. Instead, the texts demanded close study over time. That lesson has stayed with me over the years. With the rise of the Internet, however, resources are available for rapid "bite-sized" introductions to philosophical thinking. I am skeptical about their long term value, but these introductions have their uses.

Beginning in 2007, David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton have maintained a popular site which offers short podcasts on philosophical topics. Edmonds and Warburton both are philosophically informed and have written highly regarded books on their own. In 2012, Edmonds and Warburton made transcripts of 25 of their podcasts and gathered them together in a book, "Philosophy Bites". Philosophy Bites Then, early in 2013, they published this sequel, titled appropriately enough "Philosophy Bites Back" which consists of the transcripts of an additional 27 podcasts. The first book approached philosophy through issues. Thus the book was arranged under five headings titled: "Ethics", "Politics", "Metaphysics and the Mind", "Aesthetics", and "God, Atheism, and the Meaning of Life", each of which received short discussions from thinkers with varying perspectives. This new book, takes a different approach. The topic headings are gone. Each of the 27 chapters (or transcripts) explores the work of an individual thinker, beginning with Socrates and ending with Derrida, rather than a philosophical issue explored by many thinkers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. King on January 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The book contains 27 edited transcripts of podcast interviews from the web site Philosophy Bites. Each of the interviewees have written at least one book on a classical European philosopher (the exceptions are the American pragmatists James, Dewey and Rorty ) and the interview covers one or two important aspects of the philosopher's ideas. As such by the end one knows a little of this and that and has a bare bones appreciation of each .

For someone like myself who has had only a couple of philosophy courses some aeons ago it makes for a rather nice roadmap. For example knowing that Derrida is about deconstructionism and the impossibility of forgiveness may not do justice to the entire sense of his work, but at least it's a beginning. Jonathan Wolff offers that the essential point of Rawls Theory of Justice is that social inequality is morally acceptable only as long as it is bounded by a requirement to maximize the benefits to those least well-off, an idea which has in recent years started to take hold. There are some nice insights on Nietzsche and his aesthetics of primal chaos as well as his disillusionment of Wagner, Mary Warnock advises us of which works by Sartre one should avoid and Clare Carlisle has piqued my interest in Kierkegard's Fear and Trembling.

The advantage of the book form is that you can annotate, scan, skim and process it more quickly. The advantages of the podcasts are that they are free, the selection is larger (there is also an earlier book) and that the expressiveness of the speakers gives the explorations a more nuanced and emotive emphasis on the substance of the talks. In either case the presentation is quite enjoyable and the talks can serve both as a refresher and as an introduction to the great thinkers of the West.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward L Hobbs on July 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The average person with an interest in philosophy will find this book to be an excellent introduction to the basic ideas from the world's most influential thinkers. Few of us can find time in our lives to read on all of these subjects (I expect it's difficult enough for full-time academics). Thank you to Mr. Edmonds and Mr. Warbuton for bringing these experts together.

Also; if you haven't already please check out the Philosophy Bites podcast.
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