- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Potter Style (August 7, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307351270
- ISBN-13: 978-0307351272
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Would Socrates Say?: Philosophers answer your questions about love, nothingness, and everything else
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
Since its inception two years ago, more than 3,000 questions from doctors, lawyers, immigrants and children have been posed on AskPhilosophers.org. Creator Alexander George, a professor of philosophy at Amherst College, has here compiled some of the site's most intriguing and widely relevant Q&As, covering, in the "grand tradition of human reflection," perennial topics like death, love, ethics and the origins of each. More than that, George seeks to make clear that philosophy is, indeed, for the thinking person, but that everyone is a thinking person. Organized broadly into four parts, entitled "What can I know?", "What ought I to do?", "What may I hope?" and "What is man?", the answer to each question ("Why isn't it just as good to be happy as to be sad?") is attributed to one of 22 contributing professors, who do a fine job, in short passages, of establishing a personal link to what could otherwise seem distant or abstract theory. Questions range from the near-universal ("If God's will is ultimately unknowable, then how can we know what is morally right?") to the situation-specific ("Is it morally wrong to tell children that Santa exists?") to the cheekily subversive ("Should the tolerant tolerate intolerance?"); there's lots of material here to enlighten and provoke, especially for those just getting their Socratic sea legs.
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About the Author
ALEXANDER GEORGE is a professor of philosophy at Amherst College and the creator of AskPhilosophers.org.
Top customer reviews
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Some of the questions are, from a philosophical point of view, quite badly answered. I know of course that it is not all that easy to answer philosophical questions with few words, but still. Having said that, some answers were quite good and to the point.
And furthermore, I am quite certain that Socrates would not have given most of the answers that appear in that book (yes, I know, it's a good title which makes people curious and all that, but still... not so much).
But if the price is right, buy it! It's still quite interesting. If not for anything else, it might make you want to argue against the answers and that is a good thing. If a book makes you think, then I'm all for it.
The writing is neither dumbed down nor overly academic. It is intelligent and clear, and at its best moments it provides a great deal of insight into these thorny questions. A perfect gift for anyone who loved that philosophy course he or she took in college, or has wondered about philosophical questions from time to time, or really anyone at all who would enjoy reading great questions and interesting, insightful answers. It's also a rare chance to hear prominent philosophers speaking in a candid voice, approaching central philosophical issues in a non-technical, very readable way. Highly recommended.
It doesn't insult the reader's intelligence either. Alexander George assembled a group of present-day philosophers who deconstruct a host of timeless questions. Their perspectives are condensed for the sake of economy but each explanation is masterful. This book comes the closest to having a full philosophical discourse in miniature, a great and good thing.
Its small(ish) appearance notwithstanding, this handy primer paves the way for those wishing to explore its topics more deeply. Anyone with a love of contemplation will take to it over and over again. Its accessibility only lends to the book's charm; George assembled something here that's truly wonderful.
But, seriously folks, if you're looking for a great night table book chock-full of espresso cup-size (to blend my coffee metaphors) bits of incisive philosophical wisdom, you need look no further than "What Would Socrates Say?".