Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests

Overview

'Popular philosophy of the best kind' Financial Times

All major social advances started with a complaint: Emmeline Pankhurst, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela each brought about change by protesting that the status quo was wrong and needed to be rethought. Complaint has revolutionised society - yet it is now associated primarily with trivial moans and frivolous litigation.

Renowned popular philosopher Julian Baggini shows that in order to reclaim complaint as a positive ...

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Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests

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Overview

'Popular philosophy of the best kind' Financial Times

All major social advances started with a complaint: Emmeline Pankhurst, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela each brought about change by protesting that the status quo was wrong and needed to be rethought. Complaint has revolutionised society - yet it is now associated primarily with trivial moans and frivolous litigation.

Renowned popular philosopher Julian Baggini shows that in order to reclaim complaint as a positive force, we need to know what we wrongly complain about, and why. He explores every kind of complaint, from the contradictory to the paranoid and the Luddite, and presents a unique and revealing survey into whether Britons complain more than Americans, men more than women, the old more than the young.

This fascinating, witty insight into an essential part of the human condition will help you find the best way to bridge the gap between how things are and how we think they ought to be.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In a short work that's part of Profile Books' "Big Ideas" series, Baggini (Atheism: A Very Short Introduction) examines a common occurrence in our daily lives: complaining. Often, our complaints are gripes about everyday events or things we cannot change. While Baggini addresses these types of minor complaints, he is more concerned with examining how complaint can be used as a way to confront social injustice. He explains that complaint "is a sense that things are not as they ought to be." For Baggini, our complaints should be based on reason and reflection and should stem from moral considerations rather than a sense of entitlement or unrealistic expectations. This will help us shed our negative perception of complaint and allow our complaints to be used to bring about positive change. VERDICT Baggini does a wonderful job of showing the complexity of a topic that on the surface seems very simple. His clear writing style and presentation makes this a very engaging book that will appeal to a wide range of readers.—Scott Duimstra, Capital Area Dist. Lib., Lansing, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846680571
  • Publisher: Profile Books Limited
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,502,283
  • Product dimensions: 8.46 (w) x 5.42 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and writer. He is the author of Welcome to Everytown and The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and is a co-founder and editor of The Philosophers' Magazine. He has written for The Guardian, The Independent and many other publications, and is a regular guest on BBC Radio 4.

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Table of Contents

1 The Noble History of Complaint 7

Divine complaint 7

Religion 12

The great complainers 17

2 Impossible Complaint 21

What we can't change 22

Moving on 29

Cathartic complaint 32

3 Mistaken Complaint 37

Contradictory complaints 37

Self-defeating complaints 42

Self-serving complaints 45

Nostalgic and Luddite complaints 49

Misdirected complaints 54

Paranoid complaints 64

Conformist complaints 71

Empty complaints 76

4 Quotidian Complaint 81

Comparative complaintology 89

Towards a future complaintology 101

5 Complaint and Grievance 103

Responsibility 104

Freedom 109

Entitlement 112

The return to ethics 118

Conclusion 127

Appendix The complaint survey 131

Further reading 137

Acknowledgements 139

Notes 141

Index 145

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