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Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1996
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Wanting to understand the most fundamental questions of the universe isn't the province of ivory-tower intellectuals alone, as this book's enormous popularity has demonstrated. A young girl, Sophie, becomes embroiled in a discussion of philosophy with a faceless correspondent. At the same time, she must unravel a mystery involving another young girl, Hilde, by using everything she's learning. The truth is far more complicated than she could ever have imagined.
Sophie's World is sheer delight. How I wish I'd had it during my college freshman survey of philosophy! -- Madeleine L'Engle
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The book has myriads of faults for the fault-finders. The philosophical views are rendered extremely simplistic for them to be understandable by the uninitiated. Its pop-philosohpy suffers from a bigger fault: lack of critical analysis in most cases. Omission of details are often jarring when beyond a point the summaries of various views sound quite similar to many others. Sophie's own story too is relatively weak despite a dramatic twist (literal) in the middle.
All that said, this is a classic of its unique kind. The author's reviews should prove no more difficult and no less wondrous than they are to Sophie. Few readers are likely to end the book with less or same curiosity levels than at the beginning. The book is particularly useful to anyone at an impressionable age - about the best gift one can give to any budding youth.
This is the first book on philosophy, I read, that gently blends western history into philosophy and further blending the streams of Eastern and western philosophies. It gives you a perspective on the why different movements arose and the accompanying religious, political and economic conditions during those time periods. I have read different books on philosophy and I find most books dry and devoid of the soulfulness that should accompany this subject. A lot of books are overly rational and objective in their content and is restricted by the limited understanding of the authors writing the books.
Sophies world in comparison examines both the objective and the subjective and while it doesn't lay out a straight path to follow or cover every philosopher in history, Jostien is bold yet diplomatic in making clear where he stands. Not all books are for everyone but this book is definitely for me.