"Is there still anything worth living for? Is anything worth pursuing, apart from money, love, and caring for one's own family?"Internationally known social philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer has an answer to these and other questions in this compelling new volume. "If we can detach ourselves from our own immediate preoccupations and look at the world as a whole and our place in it, there is something absurd about the idea that people should have trouble finding something to live for." Singer suggests that people who take an ethical approach to life often avoid the trap of meaninglessness, finding a deeper satisfaction in what they are doing than those people whose goals are narrower and more self-centered. He spells out what he means by an ethical approach to life, and shows that it can bring about significant and far-reaching changes to one's life.
Philosophy can be intriguing--and at times baffling. It deals with the central problems of the human condition--with important questions of free will, morality, life after death, the limits of logic and reason--though often in rather esoteric terms. Now, in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, readers have the most authoritative and engaging one-volume reference work on philosophy available, offering clear and reliable guidance to the ideas of all notable philosophers from antiquity to the present day, and to the major philosophical systems around the globe, from Confucianism to phenomenology.
Here is indeed a world of thought, with entries on idealism and empiricism, ethics and aesthetics, epicureanism and stoicism, deism and pantheism, liberalism and conservativism, logical positivism and existentialism--over two thousand entries in all. The contributors represent a veritable who's who of modern philosophy, including such eminent figures as Isaiah Berlin, Sissela Bok, Ronald Dworkin, John Searle, Michael Walzer, and W. V. Quine. We read Paul Feyerabend on the history of the philosophy of science, Peter Singer on Hegel, Anthony Kenny on Frege, and Anthony Quinton on philosophy itself. We meet the great thinkers--from Aristotle and Plato, to Augustine and Aquinas, to Descartes and Kant, to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, right up to contemporary thinkers such as Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, Luce Iragaray, and Noam Chomsky (over 150 living philosophers are profiled). There are short entries on key concepts such as personal identity and the mind-body problem, major doctrines from utilitarianism to Marxism, schools of thought such as the Heidelberg School or the Vienna Circle, and contentious public issues such as abortion, capital punishment, and welfare. In addition, the book offers short explanations of philosophical terms (qualia, supervenience, iff), puzzles (the Achilles paradox, the prisoner's dilemma), and curiosities (the philosopher's stone, slime). Almost every entry is accompanied by suggestions for further reading, and the book includes both a chronological chart of the history of philosophy and a gallery of portraits of eighty eminent philosophers, from Pythagoras and Confucius to Rudolf Carnap and G.E. Moore. And finally, as in all Oxford Companions, the contributors also explore lighter or more curious aspects of the subject, such as "Deaths of Philosophers" (quite a few were executed, including Socrates, Boethius, Giordano Bruno, and Thomas More) or "Nothing so Absurd" (referring to Cicero's remark that "There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it"). Thus the Companion is both informative and a pleasure to browse in, providing quick answers to any question, and much intriguing reading for a Sunday afternoon.
An indispensable guide and a constant source of stimulation and enlightenment, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy with appeal to everyone interested in abstract thought, the eternal questions, and the foundations of human understanding.
Rousseau's ideas have influenced almost every major political development of the last two hundred years, and are crucial to an understanding of phenomena as diverse as the French Revolution, modern educational theory, and the contemporary environmental movement. This is reason enough to draw attention to his startlingly alive autobiography. But the Confessions is also among the greatest self-portraits in world literature -which suggests, even more than the impact of Rousseau's thought, the extent to which the very high opinion he had of himself was ultimately justified.(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)
Critical commentary is provided in essays by H. R. Trevor-Roper, R. S. Allen, J. Huizinga, Mikhail Bakhtin, Paul Oskar Kristeller, and Robert M. Adams.
Also included are a Chronology of Erasmus's life and a Selected Bibliography.
In unraveling the long-hidden issues of the most famous free speech case of all time, noted author I.F. Stone ranges far and wide over Roman as well as Greek history to present an engaging and rewarding introduction to classical antiquity and its relevance to society today. The New York Times called this national best-seller an "intellectual thriller."
Taking the form of a dialogue between Socrates, Gorgias, Polus and Callicles, the Gorgias debates crucial questions about the nature of government. While the aspiring politician Callicles propounds the view that might is right, and the rhetorician Gorgias argues that oratory and the power to persuade represent 'the greatest good', Socrates insists on the duty of politicians to consider the welfare of their citizens - a duty he believed had been dishonoured in the Athens of his time. The dialogue offers insights into how classical Athens was governed, as well as creating a theoretical framework that has been highly influential on subsequent political debate.
This interpretive introduction provides unique insight into Plato's Republic. Stressing Plato's desire to stimulate philosophical thinking in his readers, Julia Annas here demonstrates the coherence of his main moral argument on the nature of justice, and expounds related concepts of education, human motivation, knowledge and understanding. In a clear systematic fashion, this book shows that modern moral philosophy still has much to learn from Plato's attempt to move the focus from questions of what acts the just person ought to perform to the more profound questions of what sort of person the just person ought to be.
It has long been one of the most fundamental problems of philosophy, and it is now, John Searle writes, "the most important problem in the biological sciences": What is consciousness? Is my inner awareness of myself something separate from my body?In what began as a series of essays in The New York Review of Books, John Searle evaluates the positions on consciousness of such well-known scientists and philosophers as Francis Crick, Gerald Edelman, Roger Penrose, Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers, and Israel Rosenfield. He challenges claims that the mind works like a computer, and that brain functions can be reproduced by computer programs. With a sharp eye for confusion and contradiction, he points out which avenues of current research are most likely to come up with a biological examination of how conscious states are caused by the brain. Only when we understand how the brain works will we solve the mystery of consciousness, and only then will we begin to understand issues ranging from artificial intelligence to our very nature as human beings.
Schiller's 1795 essay on the educative function of art is one of the most important contributions to the history of ideas in modern times. This English-German parallel text edition includes a long analytical introduction and extensive notes.