Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century

Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century

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by A. C. Grayling
     
 

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Ideas can, and do, change the world. Just as Marxism, existentialism, and feminism shaped the last century, so fundamentalism, globalization, and bioethics are transforming our world now. In Ideas that Matter, renowned philosopher A.C. Grayling provides a personal dictionary of the ideas that will shape our world in the decades to come. With customary wit, fire…  See more details below

Overview

Ideas can, and do, change the world. Just as Marxism, existentialism, and feminism shaped the last century, so fundamentalism, globalization, and bioethics are transforming our world now. In Ideas that Matter, renowned philosopher A.C. Grayling provides a personal dictionary of the ideas that will shape our world in the decades to come. With customary wit, fire, and erudition, Grayling ranges across the gamut of essential theories, movements, and philosophies—from animal rights to neurophilosophy to war crimes—provoking and elucidating throughout.

Ideas are the cogs that drive history, and in explaining the most complex and influential ones in laymen’s terms, Ideas that Matter will help every engaged citizen better understand it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Grayling (The Choice of Hercules) winnows a universe of ideas, ideologies, and philosophies into “a personal dictionary” for understanding the new century. With topics chosen according to the author’s interests and for their “intrinsic significance,” the alphabetically organized list leaps from the antediluvian—“Afterlife”; “War”—to the contemporary—“Artificial Intelligence”; “Internet.” Each self-standing entry includes a concise introduction intended as a starting point for further investigation by the reader, but the author eschews references and includes only a brief bibliography. While some readers will question the inclusion or omission of specific concepts—why “Vegetarianism” but not global warming?—the list is largely conventional if abstract and rather coolly academic. Grayling’s dictionary will appeal to readers looking for a perspective of the 21st century’s big ideas as seen from the ivory tower. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Grayling, a well-known British philosopher, has attempted a task worthy of Voltaire and Pierre Bayle. He has given us a philosophical dictionary of important ideas. The entries vary in length from a little over a page to several pages and cover topics in philosophy, religion, science, and political and social affairs. Grayling's learning is remarkable: he covers, among many other topics, string theory, capitalism, and Orthodox Christianity. His own point of view, that of a secular humanist with liberal values, is present throughout, e.g., in the entry on evolution, he criticizes the proponents of intelligent design and in another entry, he speaks favorably of euthanasia. Even readers with different points of view, though, will benefit from Grayling's clear accounts of his topics. He is especially good at explaining clearly difficult ideas, e.g., the standard model of physics; the entries on philosophical topics are particularly well done. VERDICT All readers interested in the issues discussed—and who isn't?—will gain much from this book.—David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., OH
From the Publisher

Simon May, Literary Review (UK)
“A work of great scope, erudition and spirit…. it is informed by humanity, hope (not the same, of course, as optimism), a passion for reason and justice, and encyclopedic learning: in short the spirit of the Enlightenment. Its very range (Cloning to Creationism, Quantum Mechanics to Religion, Logic to String Theory) reflects the conviction that only through knowledge, investigation and thought – using one’s own understanding and pursued without coercion – can human beings fulfill their individual potential.”

Iain Finlayson, The Times (UK)
“If there is any such person in Britain today as The Thinking Man, it is AC Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck. He provides generous help for the ethically challenged, the philosophically perplexed and the culturally confused. There are any number of ideas in the modern world; they are like trees in a forest... Clearly and succinctly, without jargon or condescension, Grayling takes on the intellectual world and names its parts. He does us great service with this useful handbook."

Publishers Weekly
“Grayling winnows a universe of ideas, ideologies, and philosophies into ‘a personal dictionary’ for understanding the new century.... [His] dictionary will appeal to readers looking for a perspective of the 21st century’s big ideas as seen from the ivory tower.”

Library Journal
“Grayling’s learning is remarkable: he covers, among many other topics, string theory, capitalism, and Orthodox Christianity…. Even readers with different points of view…will benefit from Grayling’s clear accounts of his topics. He is especially good at explaining clearly difficult ideas, e.g., the standard model of physics; the entries on philosophical topics are particularly well done. All readers interested in the issues discussed – and who isn’t? – will gain much from this book.”

Kirkus
“As always, Grayling delights in a bit of polemic while expressing himself with the crispest of prose; his sharpest jabs are reserved for the irrational aspects of religion. But, like most of his books, this account is designed to be more thought-provoking than utterly authoritative. It succeeds.”

America Magazine
“Grayling scans a vast spectrum of problems and issues with lively, often ultra-opinionated prose…. [I]nquiring minds who ignore Grayling will miss a spirited, even raucous show."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465021147
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
03/30/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
1,293,951
File size:
674 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. A regular reviewer for the Literary Review and the Financial Times, he also writes for the Observer, The Economist, Times Literary Supplement, and New Statesman. He lives in London.

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Ideas that Matter: The Concepts that Shape the 21st Century 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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