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The Joy of Philosophy: Thinking Thin versus the Passionate Life 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195165401
ISBN-10: 0195165403
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert C. Solomon is Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Philosophy and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Passions, In the Spirit of Hegel, From Hegel to Existentialism, About Love, A Passion for Justice, A Short History of Philosophy (with Kathleen M. Higgins), and A Passion for Wisdom.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195165403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195165401
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 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: #1,817,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. S. Heersink on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I was told I could keep only three works on philosophy, my choices would be instant: (1) Aristotle's Complete Works, (2) Hume's Treatise (and other works), and (3) Solomon's "Joy of Philosophy." That is how estimable I hold Solomon and this book.

University of Texas professor Solomon is an unique persona in philosophy. Schooled and trained in the Anglo-American analytic tradition, his favorite philosophers and ideas come from the Continental side of the profession. This hybridization of analytic training and existentialist thinking brings together the best of both possible worlds. Unlike most Continental thinkers, who are often arcane, verbose, free-association, and ideological, Solomon is accessible, concise, and driven by philosophy's "historical" or "grand" themes. And unlike most Anglo-American philosophers, "living" philosophy is the reason to do philosophy. It's not merely a method, it's a way of life. And in his superb dexterity, he's able to articulate Continental themes in the Angl-American style. For those of us demanding rigor, clarity, and logic, he delivers better than most in the analytic tradition.

All of Solomon's books are a joy to read, because he embues philosophy with joy of philosophy itself. Thus, his title for this, his most comprehensive and systematic, work, could not be more appropriate on numerous levels.

Solomon can keep up with the best of analytic rigor that the Ango-American tradition requires, and still reach into the depths and breadths of our humanity to distill vividly those distinctly human features, which really amount to something, that makes the examined life not only worthwhile, but a joyful difference.
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Format: Paperback
Like the other book I've read by Robert Solomon, "Spirituality for the Skeptic," this book appears to have a lay audience in mind at least, but in reality it's aimed only at the academic community of philosophers.

The irony which has twice misled me is that the book's central argument is that philosophy ought to be directed at laymen rather than the academic community. Insofar as it is not, Solomon believes, philosophy has lost its calling.

Otherwise, the book moves through a few minor themes, arranged as chapters. One is that passionate reasoning, rather than dispassionate reasoning, is the key to good philosophy and fulfillment in life. He's written another book on the philosophy of love, and another on Nietzsche, and both of those played a big role in this chapter. A second theme was the role of emotion in politics and social relations. In my review of "Spirituality," I criticized Solomon for going on about science this and science that while appearing totally unfamiliar with science, but in this chapter he proved me wrong, showing some familiarity, but not uncritical acceptance, with evolutionary psychology. The third chapter argues that ethics is inherently emotional, it cannot be purely rational, contrary to the hopes of so many theorists. The fourth chapter elaborates on this, looking closely at justice, sympathy and vengeance. I was uninterested and didn't read this chapter well, but it appeared to me that he argues that there is no objective justice, while supporting the thesis of chapter three. I barely made it through this chapter.

Chapter five set the book on fire for me: it is essentially about the problem of evil: how do we make sense of suffering.
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I have not bought this book yet, but I just ordered it.

I had the great good fortune to take 3 philosophy courses with Professor/Doctor Solomon at Texas Austin in the early 70's. Altough I was a business major, I decided to read philosophy for the rest of my days. Best decision I ever made.

The Teaching Company (check brouser) has 3 dvd lecture courses by Professor Solomon. These courses do not capture the dynamics and joy of being in his class, but they are very good.

If you want to experience the Joy of Philosophy make Robert C. Solomon your guru. For Hemmingway, Paris was a moveable feast; so also for Solomon and philosohhy.
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