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What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1405199940 ISBN-10: 1405199946 Edition: 1st

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What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues + Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses (Elements of Philosophy)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (April 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405199946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405199940
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Overall, Coady’s book is a well-organised and well-conceived piece of philosophy that constitutes a powerful case for the legitimacy of applying epistemology to contemporary issues.”  (Journal of Applied Philosophy, 22 October 2013)

“This book implements an excellent idea. The idea is that applied epistemology is worth pursuing. Applied epistemology, like applied ethics, employs philosophical resources toward solving real-world problems.  What To Believe Now defends provocative views…  If the book encourages further work in applied epistemology, then it will have accomplished considerable good.”  (Earl Conee, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 1 January 2013)

“Undoubtedly, this book will interest contemporary epistemologists.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.  Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 November 2012)

“Since it addresses topics of considerable importance, it should command, if not a mass audience, then one that reaches well outside the narrow confines of academic philosophy. Those particularly likely to find it useful include political theorists, students of social networks, and perhaps some policy makers.”  (Danny Yee's Book Reviews, 2012)


'What should we believe?' This is one of the core questions of epistemology, but it is often discussed in the abstract as if it were a question of purely theoretical interest arising for agents living nowhere and nowhen. David Coady takes epistemology out of the study and into the streets  by asking what  we   (as citizens of a more-or-less democratic societies) should believe now  (in the early 21st Century) about matters of political pith and moment.  A fine book, a fun book, and a book which might actually do a bit of good.

Charles Pigden, University of Otago


This original and accessible work advances applied epistemology with vivid examples, and provocative and balanced commentary. A terrific stimulus to reflection, discussion, and improved critical thought about everyday issues.

Jonathan Adler, The City University of New York

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Stewart on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Unlike the reviewer below I have read the entire book. Consequently I think I am in a better position to actually say something legitimate about the quality of 'What To Believe Now'.
'What To Believe Now' is a book about epistemology, otherwise known as 'theory of knowledge.' It is a book about applied epistemology, which is to say it discusses practical matters concerning beliefs. In particular it deals with subjects like conspiracy theories, expert testimony, wikipedia, blogs, and so on. The first chapter is the most theory laden part of the book and lays a general groundwork about what constitutes a belief. The rest of the book applies this theory to actual cases of belief formation and cases where what constitutes a right belief are called into question.
There are a number of excellent things about this book. The first excellent thing is that it is readable and engaging. It is the sort of book that one doesn't put down - it's like reading an addictive piece of fiction. In my experience this is highly irregular as far as philosophy books go: most philosophy books are dull and plodding. Not so for 'What To Believe Now' 'What To Believe Now' is a lively and readable piece of philosophy that happily contains a good dose of dry humour. In the same vein the book has the virtue of not being overlong. Some philosophy books are unnecessarily verbose and rambling - 'What To Believe Now' says what it has to say in an economical way and I cannot see how it could have been better said even if it had have had another 200 pages.
The second excellent thing about 'What To Believe Now' is the fact that it has some impact upon the sorts of beliefs we should hold, and therefore may have some impact on how we behave.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I can only second the comments of the last positive viewer. The book is excellent. Epistemology, especially among philosophy, can at times seem difficult to connect to issues of interest to non-philosophers. This book does.

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0 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Not Moses on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I did not read the entire book. But I read enough to strongly suggest that the author is thinking about thinking from inside the usual wordy, Western, rational-far-more-than-empirical paradigm. (Immanuel Kant would have had a field day with this thing.)

The text will likely prove challenging, if not virtually opaque, to any reader unfamiliar with all the conceptual shorthand. One will need to have one's hand-held on and ready for action on wikipedia and dictionary.com.

The author does not build his thesis from the ground up; he begins on the 20th floor. Chomskyan cognitivists seem likely to grasp it, but see through is tautological weaknesses. Eastern minds seem likely to wonder why all the conceptualizations are necessary when one can simply learn to sit still and listen to one's thoughts as they pass through consciousness like railroad cars at a rural crossing.

As simply put as I know how, it seems to me that one's mind needs to have sufficient experience =outside= of and detached from our common cult-ural paradigms of beliefs, values, ideas, ideals, assumptions, presumptions, convictions, principles, codes, rules, laws and such to be able to observe the mind's reactivity to social and other environmental stimuli.

Coady seems (to me, anyway) to be stuck in words (many of which he uses without defining), and we all know that words are merely =representations= of (someone's) reality, rather than reality itself.
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