What drives us to make art? Why does it motivate us? Why do we think it is important? In propounding his own version of the aesthetic theory of art – Aesthetic Creation Theory – Zangwill approaches the philosophy of art through an exploration of our attitudes to art objects rather than the works of art themselves and seeks ‘a rational explanation’ that will make ‘art-activities intelligible’.
How Proust Can Change Your Life
Wearing his scholarship lightly and with great originality, critic and popular philosopher Alain de Botton approaches the task of reading Proust and profiting from the wisdom contained within his vast novel, In Search of Lost Time – ‘a practical, universally applicable story about how to stop wasting, and begin appreciating one’s life’.
The Philosophical Life
Twelve Great Thinkers and the Search for Wisdom, From Socrates to Nietzsche
Starting with Socrates who, with his injunction to ‘know thyself’, has provided many thinkers with a model of the philosophical life, and ending with Nietzsche, James Miller provides brief biographies of twelve philosophers. The selection includes both canonical figures such as Augustine, Descartes and Kant, and less obvious thinkers including Diogenes, Montaigne and Emerson, but every one of them has ‘struggled to live his life according to a deliberately chosen set of precepts and beliefs’.
General Theory of Knowledge
Founder of the Vienna Circle and logical positivism, Moritz Schlick’s aim in this lucid epistemological treatise was to apply ‘ultimate principles’ when solving problems in the theory of knowledge. Anticipating the ideas of Russell and Wittgenstein, Schlick’s masterwork also presents a solution to the problem of the relationship between mind and body, but is most notably remembered for picking apart the Kantian and neo-Kantian doctrine of the synthetic a priori.
The Possibility of Free Will
Do we have free will? It is a question that has exercised philosophers and theologians for centuries and feeds into many contemporary political, social and personal concerns. In this cogently argued book, the popular philosopher Julian Baggini explores the concept of free will from every angle, drawing on neuroscience, cognitive science and sociology as well as philosophy, and using real-world examples to reveal the kind of free will that is worth striving for.
The Silence of Animals
On Progress and Other Modern Myths
John Gray’s cult classic Straw Dogs challenged our assumptions about what it is to be human. In this provocative sequel he discusses passages from such diverse authors as Conrad, Simenon, Borges and Freud, who explore human reactions to extreme experiences. Using their insights to attack humanism’s optimistic faith in the idea of our species’ progress, he ends with a plea for us to become more like other animals by seeking silence and contemplation.
A Brief Guide to Philosophical Classics
In this concise introduction to 66 of the most thought-provoking books ever written, James Russell deals with the great classics of philosophy in the traditional, modern and continental traditions – from Plato to Derrida – but also includes 'outsiders and gatecrashers' such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, literary 'meditations' and psychology, so that books under discussion range from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
The New Analects: Confucius Reconstructed
A Modern Reader
Although Confucius (551-479 BCE) is considered to represent the peak of traditional Chinese thought, the standard arrangement of his Analects, which were compiled in haphazard fashion from his disciples' lecture notes, obscures the full profundity of his ideas. This new translation, rearranged thematically to form a coherent whole, presents Confucius's own words separately from those of his disciples, with brief modern commentary that explains the internal logic of Confucian philosophy.
What is humanism, and what insights can be gleaned from the different contemporary varieties of this philosophy? Mark Vernon - philosopher, agnostic and former Anglican priest - introduces the history of humanistic thought, from its origins in ancient Greek philosophy, through its emergence as a movement during the Renaissance, to ten 'pressing issues', such as climate change, blasphemy and identity politics, which humanists must face in our own time.
Opera Politica IV
This volume's first three polemical texts are Ockham's Compendium errorum, attacking John XXII, Breviloquium on the extent of papal power and De imperatorum et pontificum potestate, against Avignon's injustices and heresies. Two further treatises, attributed to Ockham, attack Charles IV's claim to kingship in Germany and the papal proceedings against Lewis the Bavarian. Offler provides new editions of the Latin text, with critical apparatus and short introductions discussing each work's content, manuscript tradition and authorship. No jacket.
This Book Will Make You Think
Philosophical Quotes and What They Mean
Examining the best-known quotes of the world's most highly regarded philosophers, Alain Stephen explains the theories behind the words in concise and accessible essays. Beginning with Bentham on happiness ('The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation') the book is in sections on religion and faith, reason and experience, life and death, and people and society; and discusses quotations from 39 philosophers, ancient and modern, and from East and West.
A Life of Spinoza
Margaret Gullan-Whur Expelled from the Jewish community of Amsterdam for heresy, Spinoza (1632-77) was eventually reviled by all religious authorities for holding fast to his conviction that reason, not revelation, was the way to find the truth of God or nature. Gullan-Whur shows how Spinoza’s central philosophical beliefs developed within the context of his life and focuses on the philosopher’s attempt to act solely through reason in the face of personal and national crises.
Conscience, Consciousness and Ethics
in Joseph Butler's Philosophy and Ministry
Based on new transcriptions and close readings of his published and unpublished works, this study offers fresh, detailed accounts of the spiritual and intellectual life of the British moral philosopher Joseph Butler (1692–1752).
The Advancement of Learning (1640)
The nine books of Francis Bacon's famous review of the state of knowledge begin by extolling the dignity of learning and go on to cover topics from natural philosophy to theology. This book is from the Archival Facsimile series of reprints of first or important editions in the British Library - in this case, the facsimile is of the copy owned by Charles I. Although published in 1987, this is a new book. No jacket.
Letter to a Priest
Wrestling with the moral dilemmas entailed by commitment to the Catholic Church, Letter to a Priest is a meditation on the perennial battle between faith and doubt and resonates today as much as it did when it was first written in 1942. This edition also includes the essay 'Human Personality' (1943), in which Weil offers a brilliant and unorthodox account of the preciousness of human beings. Foreword by Raimond Gaita. From the Routledge Great Minds series.
101 Philosophy Problems
Martin Cohen's 101 problems include logical loops, tricky ethical dilemmas, pesky numbers problems and 'twelve traditional philosophy problems no one really cares about anyway'. He uses these puzzles, conundrums and paradoxes to introduce philosophy and its concerns in a skilful and entertaining way, banishing technical jargon and unreadable sentences. Now in its fourth edition, the book has been extensively revised and updated with new material and a new glossary.
Ancient Philosophy of Religion
Volume One: The History of Western Philosophy of Religion
Comprising chapters devoted to individual thinkers from Pythagoras to Pseudo-Dionysius, this volume covers ancient and early Christian thought on God, the gods, religious belief and practice. Vol 1 of The History of Western Philosophy of Religion.
Robert Grossetest: Hexaemeron
Robert Grosseteste's influential Hexaëmeron is a study of the creation story found in the opening chapters of Genesis, which he interpreted not only through the contemporary scientific ideas of the 1230s but also in the light of ancient philosophical thought which was being re-introduced into western Europe. This critical edition presents the full Latin text, based on all the available manuscripts, one of which contains Grosseteste's own annotations and corrections.
How to Be a Philosopher
or How to Be Almost Certain that Almost Nothing is Certain
In his practical guide to philosophizing, Gary Cox explains philosophical ideas – on metaphysics, epistemology, solipsism, transcendental idealism etc – with examples drawn from great works including Family Guy, Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Matrix. He also argues that learning to philosophize will help you think more clearly and honestly about your own life, and even offers advice on how to make a living from philosophy.