David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Times Literary Supplement (9 November) (2007)
Analytic philosophers are often accused of ignoring the large questions that philosophy should be about and of concentrating instead on small technical questions that no one else is interested in. This accusation is not entirely unfounded. However, in order to answer large philosophical questions, we often need to answer many smaller and more technical ones first, whether or not anyone is interested in the answers to them. In his excellent new book The Retreat of Reason: A Dilemma in the Philosophy of Life, the Swedish philosopher Ingmar Persson does exactly that. The large philosophical question Persson tries to answer is: how should we lead our lives? His answer emerges slowly, via a large number of smaller and more technical questions. But Persson always does his best to explain how his answers to the smaller questions contribute to his answer to the large one, and anyone who makes the effort to read this book is likely to be rewarded with many new insights.
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