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Philosophy Bites Back 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199693009
ISBN-10: 0199693005
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"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, King's College London





"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." --Library Journal


"Thought-provoking... Illuminating." --Publishers Weekly


"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, King's College London


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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (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 (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE 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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
This is a must-have read for those who are not familiar, have never liked, or just want more philosophy in their lives. This book covers twenty-seven different philosophic topics from history's most beloved and hated philosophers and breaks down some of their most famous thoughts by today's philosophers. The author easily showcases this by translating these oftentimes complex thoughts into layman's terms easily understood by all level of readers and enlightening their life's work for all to enjoy.

"[On Aristophanes] There were three different sexes of proto-human beings: male, female, and hermaphrodite. And these beings were initially spherical. They were completely round, with four arms, four legs, two heads, two faces, and two sets of genitalia, and they rolled around the surfaces of the earth like acrobats."

From Plato, on erotic love, to Machiavelli, and his book The Prince, all ranges of topics are covered with a fresh new light shone upon these philosophers. Edmonds approaches each chapter with an introduction and follows up with an in-depth discussion to inspire the reader to think deeply and formulate his or her own thoughts.

While not all philosophers touched on in this book will be known to all readers, and each chapter might not catch the same values and meanings from person to person, there just might be something here to motivate you into finding your own favorite philosopher.
*You can view the original review at City Book Review
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