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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 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 livesgood and evil, truth and beauty, faith and the soul, free will and consciousnessWhy Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? offers a guided tour of Western philosophy by one of the world's greatest living experts.
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About the Author
Leszek Kolakowski is currently senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He is the author of numerous books on topics in philosophy, religion, and intellectual history, including Main Currents of Marxism. He is the recipient of many major awards, including the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society and the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences. He lives in Oxford, England.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What These Essays Are For
Note on the English edition
Truth and the Good: Why do we do evil?
Being and Non-Being: What is real?
PARMENIDES OF ELBA
Change, Conflict and Harmony: How does the cosmos work?
HERACLITUS OF EPHESUS
The Good and the Just: What is the source of truth?
Life in Accordance with Nature: Can it make us happy?
EPICTETUS OF HIERAPOLIS
Knowledge and Belief: Can we know anything?
God and Man: What is evil?
God’s Necessity: Could God not exist?
Knowledge, Faith and the Soul: Is the world good?
ST THOMAS AQUINAS
What There Is: Do ideas exist?
WILLIAM OF OCKHAM
God, the World and our Minds: How can we achieve certainty?
The Nature of God: Do we have free will?
God and the World: Why is there something rather than nothing?
GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ
Faith:Why should we believe?
Reason, Freedom and Equality: What did God endow us with?
Perception and Causality: What can we know?
Reason, Necessity and Morality:How is knowledge possible?
History and the Absolute:Progress without good and evil?
GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL
World, Will and Sex:Should we commit suicide?
God and Faith:Do we need the Church?
SOREN AABYE KIERKEGAARD
The Will to Power:Is there good and evil?
Consciousness and Evolution:What is the human spirit?
The Foundations of Certainty:What can we know and how can we know it?