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Philosophy Bites 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199576326
ISBN-10: 0199576327
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This thoughtful and highly readable collection of conversations with philosophers on a broad range of topics, from the perennial problems of skepticism to the epistemological questions raised by wine tasting, put together by editors Edmonds (coauthor of Wittgenstein's Poker and documentary maker for the BBC World Service) and Warburton, senior lecturer at the Open University, displays an admirable grasp of a variety of issues. The editors' conversations with Alain de Botton on architecture and Peter Singer on animal rights manage to be accessible for the nonspecialist while still maintaining critical bite. Inevitably, the quality of thought on offer varies from one interviewee to the next, but standouts include Don Culpit's nonrealist view of God and Wendy Brown on how modern notions of tolerance can disguise severe limitations on freedom and equality. More disappointing is the volume's Anglo-American bias and its lack of interviews with non–English-language philosophers. If, as the editors say, "the spirit of philosophy is at its most apparent in conversation," then they would be well served by widening their scope. Nonetheless, as introductions to philosophy go, these bite-size dialogues add up to a surprisingly substantial whole. (Nov.) (c)
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Review


"This thoughtful and highly readable collection of conversations with philosophers on a broad range of topics, from the perennial problems of skepticism to the epistemological questions raised by wine tasting, displays an admirable grasp of a variety of issues."--Publishers Weekly


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199576327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199576326
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am not generally a fan of philosophy, but I was drawn to this book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This are based on a podcast of interviews with philosophers, and presents transcripts of 25 of them. I found them almost all lucid and interesting, even if I wasn't always in agreement; some of them quite gripping. I hesitate to criticize any, since other people may be very interested in topics that I don't care for. The one question that I wished that the interviewer had asked is to question why Don Cupitt remains a Christian priest, given his beliefs, or lack of them. Another book by a philosopher that I greatly enjoyed was Daniel Dennett's DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA: EVOLUTION AND THE MEANINGS OF LIFE
For those wanting more information, I append the contents:

Introduction
What is Philosophy?

ETHICS
1. Julian Savulescu on 'Yuk!'
2. Simon Blackburn on Relativism
3. Peter Singer on Animals
4. Michael Sandel on Sport and Enhancement
5. Alexander Nehama on Friendship

POLITICS
6. Kwame Anthony Appiah on Cosmopolitanism
7. Miranda Fricker on Credibility and Discrimination
8. Anne Philips on Minority Rights
9. Will Kymlicka on Minority Rights
10. Wendy Brown on Tolerance

METAPHYSICS AND THE MIND
11. A. W. Moore on Infinity
12. David Papineau on Scientific Realism
13. Barry Stroud on Scepticism
14. Hugh Mellor on Time
15. Tim Crane on Mind and Body
16. Timothy Williamson on Vagueness

AESTHETICS
17. Derek Matravers on the Definition of Art
18. Alain de Botton on the Aesthetics of Architecture
19. Barry C. Smith on Wine
20.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has a promising pedigree. One of its compilers, Nigel Warburton, is the author of two excellent, introductory short books to philosophy - Philosophy; The Basics and Philosophy; The Classics. Philosophy Bites is a set of transcripts of podcast short interviews with well known philosophers on a variety of topics. The book is designed to introduce interesting philosophy topics to the inexperienced. I found the quality of topics and interviews uneven. Some, like David Papineau's interview on realism, were quite good. Several others are less useful. Some of the traditional topics, like philosophy of religion topics, are perhaps over-represented. Interviews dealing with more currect issues would have been welcome.
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Format: Hardcover
I had listened to the Philosophy Bites podcast prior to buying this book. This book is excellent companion to the podcast since it offers many of the transcripts from the best interviews of Philosophy Bites dealing with many different topics from different areas of philosophy like, ethics and aesthetics. It also has a well-written introduction and a very interesting section where different philosophers answer the deceptively hard question "What is Philosophy?" I would recommend for anyone interested in philosophy.
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Format: Paperback
I was excited to get this book however I was more or less disappointed in the overall context of the book. Philosophy is supposed to be engaging, as this book was not. The questions being asked were dumb, and there were no "ah-hah" moments for me- the main reason why I pursue to read about philosophy in the first place. I would recommend sticking your finger in a pencil sharpener before I would recommend someone whose interested in philosophy to read this as a beginning book. A long yawn of a book. Look elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
This book consists of 25 essays, written by different philosophers, in the form of short dialogues. The topics are frequently of some current interest, and are grouped into five categories: Ethics, Politics, Metaphysics and Mind, Aesthetics, and lastly, God, Atheism, and the Meaning of Life. At the beginning of each essay, there is one paragraph of introductory material that gives a little information about the historical background for the essay, and a few introductory remarks about the philosopher. In the next paragraph, the topic on which the essay will focus is introduced. A sequence of highly focused and connected questions are then posed for the philosopher, which she or he briefly address in a paragraph or two. The last paragraph attempts to tie things together, and present a broad perspective.

The result is that one gets a flavor for how various philosophers answer questions, and some idea of their concerns, at least in the sense that they have some broad implications for culture. On the whole, the essays are well-written, and clear of technical jargon. They are indeed bite-sized chunks that are rather easy to read and digest. Because the essays are so short, and the topics are so varied, one never progresses beyond a few introductory remarks of a general nature. Therefore, the book is a bit like reading a series of prefaces, and it all can be read very quickly. Given that, one can expect nothing of depth, but it is possible to pique one's interests for further exploration, and for each essay a few references are listed for that purpose. Most of the references are fairly current, some from the 1990s, but many from the first decade of the 21st century.
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