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"I would say that I'm a maker of distinctions," writes MIT philosophy professor Singer in this short summation of his life's work, which has been, in the Socratic tradition, to clarify the meanings of "large-scale terms like love, happiness, meaning of life, meaning in life, sex, beauty." The conversational tone of the book betrays its origins as a series of interviews, but it also fits Singer's focus on distinguishing his views against the perspectives of the past. Thus: "Nietzsche goes too far," "Freud made a number of errors," "Even science has its flaws." It all makes for a fairly interesting dialogue between Singer and his predecessors and contemporaries. Although he may disagree with them, understanding what has come before is for him the only method for a reader to choose a thoughtful path. For Singer, Plato is the beginning, Shakespeare is the turning point and science is the present. Singer has written 15 works on the philosophy of love, and this latest can serve as an introduction to his oeuvre, a stand-alone survey of the topic or a model methodology for seeking greater understanding. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.