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.