Philosophy, the “love of wisdom”, is the product of our endless fascination and curiosity about the world the child of wonder. Through it, we seek to answer the most fundamental of questions: How do we know what we know? Does God exist? What is beauty? How should we live our lives? Who am I?
In this exhilarating tour, Peter Cave navigates all the main topics in the subject with verve and clarity, from political philosophy to existentialism. Using witty and whimsical examples, including stoical sofas and Reg, the “regular” human, who just happens to carry his brain in a rucksack, Cave provides a welcome antidote to the dry textbook and underscores philosophy’s enduring relevance today. Interspersed with helpful textboxes and mini biographies of the key thinkers, there is no better introduction for the aspiring sage.
About the Author
Peter Cave, author, lecturer and broadcaster, currently lectures for The Open University and New York University (London Campus). He read philosophy at University College London and at Cambridge and has been guest lecturer at a variety of universities abroad, and often takes part in public debates on religion, ethics and sociopolitical matters. He has scripted and presented BBC radio philosophy programs and published academic papers on paradoxes in philosophy journals and has also written many lighter pieces for philosophy magazines.
Table of Contents
Prologue: take your time xi
1 What is it to be human? 1
2 Are we responsible for what we do? 22
3 Surviving 40
4 What - morally - ought we to do? 54
5 Political philosophy: what justifies the state? 75
6 Mind, brain and body 94
7 What, then, is knowledge? 113
8 How sceptical should we be? 133
9 God: for and against 153
10 The arts: what is the point? 171
Epilogue: mortality, immortality and the meaning of life 194