Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?: 23 Questions from Great Philosophers

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?: 23 Questions from Great Philosophers

by Leszek Kolakowski
     
 

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 Do we have free will?
How can we know anything?
What is justice?
Why is there evil in the world?
What is the source of truth?
Is it possible for God not to exist?
Can we really believe what we see?

These are some of the questions that have intrigued the world’s greatest thinkers over the ages. They are questions that make us

Overview


 Do we have free will?
How can we know anything?
What is justice?
Why is there evil in the world?
What is the source of truth?
Is it possible for God not to exist?
Can we really believe what we see?

These are some of the questions that have intrigued the world’s greatest thinkers over the ages. They are questions that make us think about the way we live, work, relate to each other, and see the world. In elegant and accessible prose, the eminent philosopher Leszek Kolakowski explores the essence of these ideas and their ongoing relevance as he introduces us to the great figures of Western thought: from Socrates to St. Augustine, Descartes to Nietzsche, and beyond.

Reflecting on the great issues that animate our lives—good and evil, truth and beauty, faith and the soul, free will and consciousness—Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? offers a guided tour of Western philosophy by one of the world’s greatest living experts.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In this brief overview, Kolakowski (senior research fellow, All Souls Coll., Oxford; Main Currents of Marxism) examines ideas and questions raised by past philosophers who have "opened up new directions of thought for future generations," among them Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, and Nietzsche. He explains that the book is not meant to be an introduction to philosophy, but an examination of the essential ideas in each of these philosophers' thought. The brief chapters, arranged in chronological sections, end with questions and contradictions that arise from their theories. Instead of answering these questions, the author leaves them for the reader to ponder. The book's strength is Kolakowski's choice of philosophers, whose topics cover a broad range, from the existence of God to epistemology and ethics. What's more, the writing is clear and straightforward, which makes the collection accessible for those new to philosophy. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.
—Scott Duimstra

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465004997
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
11/12/2007
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
423,637
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 6.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Leszek Kolakowski is currently senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He has also taught at the University of Chicago, McGill University, UC Berkeley, and Yale University. He is the author of numerous books, including his masterpiece and magnum opus Main Currents of Marxism, published in three volumes in the 1970s and recently reissued in a single volume by Norton. He is the recipient of many major international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society (2007), the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences awarded for lifetime achievement in the humanistic and social sciences (2004), a MacArthur ("genius") Fellowship (1983) as well as the German Booksellers Peace Prize (1977), the Erasmus Prize (1980) and the Veillon Foundation European Prize for the Essay (1980). He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a fellow of the Académie Universelle des Cultures, and a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Oxford, England.

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