Philosophy Bites Back

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Overview

A sparkling, original tour through 2,500 years of Western thought, from Socrates to Derrida, from happiness and love in ancient Greece to truth and forgiveness in the twentieth century. Twenty-seven of today's leading philosophers each introduce and explore ideas from one of history's greatest minds.

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Philosophy Bites Back

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Overview

A sparkling, original tour through 2,500 years of Western thought, from Socrates to Derrida, from happiness and love in ancient Greece to truth and forgiveness in the twentieth century. Twenty-seven of today's leading philosophers each introduce and explore ideas from one of history's greatest minds.

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  • David Edmonds & Nigel Warburton
    David Edmonds & Nigel Warburton  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Philosophy attempts to make sense of the central quandaries of the human experience: how to define the good life, identify the ordering principles of the universe, determine to what extent our perceptions or observations may be trusted, and “understand what the basic structure of reality is like.” Edmonds and Warburton seek to democratize this intellectual tradition by producing short, easily digestible podcasts in which specialists outline aspects of their field. The improbably popular Philosophy Bites blog has already spawned one successful book, and the sequel employs a similar format in compiling 27 brief transcripts about the life and work of famous philosophers. These thought-provoking briefs have a somewhat guarded quality, as the participants are usually proponents but not entirely partisans of their subjects. All but one of the pieces focus on individuals rather than schools or ideas, and some choppiness is inevitable. While some explanations are gnomic, and complex thought processes are highly abbreviated, the synthesis is usually illuminating. John Campbell on George Berkeley’s “blobs of sensation” and Clare Carlisle on Søren Kierkegaard’s “paradoxical... morally abhorrent” faith are especially engaging. Those looking for a more universalist approach to the subject, or for a discussion of Eastern thought, should be warned that the philosophers highlighted all come from within the European canon and are disproportionately British. Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham, U.K. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

"Engaging and accessible... Readers can enjoy each chapter individually or read the entire book for an understanding of major figures of Western philosophy. As was the first, this book is highly recommended for all general readers with an interest in philosophy." --Library Journal

"Thought-provoking... Illuminating." --Publishers Weekly

"As a fan of the Philosophy Bites podcast, I'm very pleased to see this publication of conversations with leading scholars on major figures in the history of philosophy. The result is not only a good introduction to that history, but a rare chance to read top-level philosophers speaking extemporaneously about the subjects they know best. Even regular listeners to the podcast will be glad to have this written version of highlights from the series."--Peter Adamson, King's College London

Library Journal
Edmonds (research assoc., Uehiro Ctr. for Practical Ethics, Univ. of Oxford) and Warburton (philosophy, Open Univ.) are back with a second volume of podcast interviews from their popular site philosophybites.com. Unlike the interviews in the first book, which focused on areas of philosophy, these 27 interviews with academic philosophers consider historical philosophers from ancient Greece through Jacques Derrida. The authors explain that the philosophers covered are not meant to make up an exhaustive list but instead represent a "tasting menu" to get readers started with Western philosophy. Each interview has a conversational tone and effectively provides a succinct overview of a specific area of the philosopher's thought. VERDICT With this second book, the authors have again succeeded in conveying the engaging and accessible format of their popular podcast. Readers can enjoy each chapter individually or read the entire book for an understanding of major figures of Western philosophy. As was the first, this book is highly recommended for all general readers with an interest in philosophy.—Scott Duimstra, Capital Area Dist. Lib., Lansing, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199693009
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/6/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,373,431
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Edmonds is an award-winning documentary maker for the BBC World Service. He is the author or co-author (with John Eidinow) of several books, including Wittgenstein's Poker (short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award), Bobby Fischer Goes To War (long-listed for the Samuel Johnson prize), and Rousseau's Dog (about the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume). He is currently a Research Associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University and a Contributing Editor for Prospect Magazine.

Nigel Warburton is a freelance philosopher, podcaster, and writer. His books include A Little History of Philosophy, Philosophy: the Basics, Thinking from A to Z, Philosophy: the Classics, The Art Question, and Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Who is your favourite philosopher? xi

1 Mary Margaret McCabe on Socrates and the Socratic Method 1

2 Angie Hobbs on Plato on Erotic Love 10

3 Terence Irwin on Aristotle's Ethics 20

4 Anthony Kenny on Thomas Aquinas' Ethics 29

5 Quentin Skinner on Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince 37

6 Sarah Bakewell on Michel de Montaigne 51

7 A. C. Grayling on René Descartes' Cogito 61

8 Susan James on Baruch de Spinoza on the Passions 70

9 John Dunn on John Locke on Toleration 81

10 John Campbell on George Berkeley's Puzzle 89

11 Peter Millican on David Hume's Significance 97

12 Nick Phillipson on Adam Smith on What Human Beings Are Like 106

13 Melissa Lane on Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Modern Society 115

14 Richard Bourke on Edmund Burke on Politics 124

15 A.W. Moore on Immanuel Kant's Metaphysics 132

16 Robert Stern on G. W. F. Hegel on Dialectic 143

17 Richard Reeves on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty 156

18 Clare Carlisle on Søren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling 164

19 Aaron Ridley on Friedrich Nietzsche on Art and Truth 172

20 Peter Singer on Henry Sidgwick's Ethics 182

21 Robert B. Talisse on The Pragmatists and Truth 190

22 Barry C. Smith on Ludwig Wittgenstein 201

23 Hugh Mellor on Frank Ramsey on Truth 214

24 Mary Warnock on Jean-Paul Sartre's Existentialism 223

25 Chandran Kukathas on Friedrich Hayek and Liberalism 230

26 Jonathan Wolff on John Rawls on Justice 238

27 Robert Rowland Smith on Jacques Derrida on Forgiveness 250

Notes on Contributors 259

Further Reading 265

Winners of the Twitter Competition 273

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a must-have read for those who are not familiar, have ne

    This is a must-have read for those who are not familiar, have never liked, or just want more philosophy in their lives. This book covers twenty-seven different philosophic topics from history’s most beloved and hated philosophers and breaks down some of their most famous thoughts by today’s philosophers. The author easily showcases this by translating these oftentimes complex thoughts into layman’s terms easily understood by all level of readers and enlightening their life’s work for all to enjoy.
    “[On Aristophanes] There were three different sexes of proto-human beings: male, female, and hermaphrodite. And these beings were initially spherical. They were completely round, with four arms, four legs, two heads, two faces, and two sets of genitalia, and they rolled around the surfaces of the earth like acrobats.”
    From Plato, on erotic love, to Machiavelli, and his book The Prince, all ranges of topics are covered with a fresh new light shone upon these philosophers. Edmonds approaches each chapter with an introduction and follows up with an in-depth discussion to inspire the reader to think deeply and formulate his or her own thoughts.
    While not all philosophers touched on in this book will be known to all readers, and each chapter might not catch the same values and meanings from person to person, there just might be something here to motivate you into finding your own favorite philosopher.
    *You can view the original review at City Book Review

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