Kids can astonish with the philosophical ideas they spontaneously have, but are they really able to follow through their implications systematically and logically? And isn’t that what philosophy is essentially about, not just having interesting ideas?
The object of the exercise is to understand what we can do to stop something bad. It would be better if people stopped for the purest of motives, but it’s best if they stop. And if the choice is between their stopping for the wrong reasons and their not stopping I favour their stopping for the wrong reasons. Kant may be right that people ought to stop killing because they see that it’s wrong. That ought to be enough, but it (...) may not be, and if it isn’t, if there’s something else that can actually get them to stop, then I favour using it. (shrink)
“His hypothesis is that if you take dope you’re going to end up taking smack, but he’d actually got an incorrect application of Bayes’ theorem ... the gateway theory, all obviously complete bollocks, based on a professor’s ineptitude in statistics.”.
This second edition of "The Philosopher's Toolkit" provides readers with the essential tools -- the intellectual equipment - necessary for participating in thoughtful philosophical argument, reading and reflection.
“It’s not good enough to say there’s some mechanism such that you start out with amoebas and you end up with us. Everybody agrees with that. The question is in this case in the mechanical details. What you need is an account, as it were step by step, about what the constraints are, what the environmental variables are, and Darwin doesn’t give you that.”.
My father really looked forward to reading my book and then was terribly disappointed when he found it was unreadable. One of the reader’s reports for the press when it was published said ‘This book is written ordinary English – there are no symbols, little of what could be called technical terminology – but this appearance is entirely misleading’.
There’s not only indifference, there’s actually a huge sense of sneering superiority. The need for intercultural understanding and global dialogue between different philosophical traditions and philosophical countries is so important. It’s just crazy to think that in your own monoglot culture you’ve got all the essential tools that you need to do philosophy.
It was only after the liberation in 1945 that we started to reflect and revive again our traditional philosophy. But for a long time it was neglected. Many of our universities did not teach oriental philosophy or Korean philosophy at all. We learned Heiddegger, Nietzsche, Hegel, Kant.
One does not need to hold that western philosophy, or some subset of it, is superior to other kinds in order to worry about whether different strands of philosophy can meaningfully engage in dialogue together. Nor do these worries necessarily entail any arrogance. We can always learn form others, but that does not mean we should not prioritise some encounters over others.
The whole purpose of the UN is to bring nations together. In an era of globalisation and short term economic goals and values, we need to go back to reflect on the purposes of UNESCO as a place for foresight, a laboratory of ideas, exploring people’s identity and helping shape this. And I also hope that we can introduce these ideas backto the mainstream European and North American traditions, which tend to dominate, so that people can see there are different (...) traditions and cultures and there’s not only one way to see the world. (shrink)
It’s quite unlike anything else. One just gets the sense of a breadth and variety of philosophy that’s going on. I’m making a point of going on the whole to sessions in areas which aren’t close to my specialised scholarly interests and hearing people from countries I don’t normally encounter. One could stick to mainstream Anglo-American analytic philosophy – there’s enough of that going on here – but why come all this way for that?
The radical view, the view we’re kind of pushing, is that the iPhone can be seen literally as a part of my mind. I actually remember things: in virtue of this information being in the iPhone, it is part of my memory. The iPhone isn’t just a tool for my cognition, it’s part of my cognition.
The Ethics Toolkit provides an accessible and engaging compendium of concepts, theories, and strategies that encourage students and advanced readers to think critically about ethics so that they can engage intelligently in ethical study, thought, and debate. Written by the authors of the popular The Philosophers’ Toolkit (Blackwell, 2001); Baggini is also a renowned print and broadcast journalist, and a prolific author of popular philosophy books Uses clear and accessible language appropriate for use both inside and beyond the classroom Enlivened (...) through the use of real-world and hypothetical examples Cross-referencing of entries helps to connect and contrast ideas Features lists of prominent ethics organizations and useful websites Encourages readers to think critically about ethics and teaches them how to engage intelligently in ethical study, thought, and debate. (shrink)
What is the appropriate legal response to terrorist threats? This question is discussed by politician Tony McWalter, The Philosophers' Magazine editor Julian Baggini, and philosophers Catherine Audard, Saladin Meckled-Garcia, and Alex Voorhoeve.
Both entertaining and startling, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten offers one hundred philosophical puzzles that stimulate thought on a host of moral, social, and personal dilemmas. Taking examples from sources as diverse as Plato and Steven Spielberg, author Julian Baggini presents abstract philosophical issues in concrete terms, suggesting possible solutions while encouraging readers to draw their own conclusions: Lively, clever, and thought-provoking, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten is a portable feast for the mind that is sure (...) to satisfy any intellectual appetite. BACKCOVER: “Thinking again is what this taut, incisive, bullet-hard book is dedicated to promoting.” —The Sunday Times (London) “This book is like the Sudoku of moral philosophy: apply your mind to any of its ‘thought experiments’ while stuck on the Tube, and quickly be transported out of rush-hour hell.” —New Statesman. (shrink)
What is the meaning of life? It is a question that has intrigued the great philosophers--and has been hilariously lampooned by Monty Python. Indeed, the whole idea strikes many of us as vaguely pompous, a little absurd. Is there one profound and mysterious meaning to life, a single ultimate purpose behind human existence? In What's It All About?, Julian Baggini says no, there is no single meaning. Instead, Baggini argues meaning can be found in a variety of ways, in this (...) life. He succinctly breaks down six answers people commonly suggest when considering what life is all about--helping others, serving humanity, being happy, becoming successful, enjoying each day as if it were your last, and "freeing your mind." By reducing the vague, mysterious question of meaning to a series of more specific (if thoroughly unmysterious) questions about what gives life purpose and value, he shows that the quest for meaning can be personal, empowering, and uplifting. If the meaning of life is not a mystery, if leading meaningful lives is within the power of us all, then we can look around us and see the many ways in which life can have purpose. We can see the value of happiness while accepting it is not everything. We can see the value of success, without interpreting that too narrowly. We can see the value of seizing the day as well as helping others lead meaningful lives. We can recognize the value of love, as perhaps the most powerful motivator of all. Illustrating his argument with the thoughts of many of the great philosophers and examples drawn from everyday life, Baggini convincingly shows that the search for meaning is personal and within the power of each of us to find. (shrink)
Atheism is often considered to be a negative, dark, and pessimistic belief which is characterized by a rejection of values and purpose and a fierce opposition to religion. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral. It also confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the Twentieth Century. The book presents an intellectual case for atheism that rests as much (...) upon positive arguments for its truth as on negative arguments against religion. (shrink)
Basic tools for arguments -- More advanced tools -- Tools for assessment -- Tools for conceptual distinctions -- Tools of historical schools and philosophers -- Tools for radical critique -- Tools at the limit.
John Searle has recently produced an argument for strong altruism which rests on the recognition that ‘I believe my need for help is a reason for you to help me’. The argument fails to recognize the difference between ‘a reason for me for you to help me’ and ‘a reason for you for you to help me.’ These are two logically distinct types of reason and the existence of one can never therefore be enough to establish the existence of the (...) other. The existence of this logical gap is a major obstacle for any argument for morality as a rational requirement that attempts to universalise from reasons individual persons have to act morally. (shrink)
Making Sense examines the philosophical issues and disputes that lie behind the news headlines of the day. We read about what is happening in the world, but how do we know what the truth is, or whether there is one 'truth' at all? A president has his private sexual affairs discussed and analyzed by everyone, but is the private life of anyone the proper moral concern of others? A war against terrorism is declared, but what justifies the use of armed (...) forces with its inevitable loss of life? Making Sense draws out these philosophical disputes and shows how we can use the techniques of philosophy and the insights of its greatest practitioners to understand the issues behind the headlines better. It explains the proper role of philosophy in this respect, showing both the limits and the reach of philosophical analysis of current affairs. It also argues that applying philosophy to news stories can and should inform our wider understanding; what we know, believe and value. A philosophically informed reading of the news creates a two-way process where philosophy sheds light on the news and the news, thus illuminated, sheds light on our philosophy. The book covers themes such as war, truth, morality, the environment, religious faith, the ending of life and the meaning of value. It examines such news stories as the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, the war against terrorism, the siege at Waco, the genetically modified foods debate and advances in human therapeutic cloning. The discussions interweave philosophy and current affairs to create a compelling narrative that challenges how we make sense both of the world around us and of our own beliefs. (shrink)
An examination of the genre of philosophical autobiography sheds light on the role of personal judgment alongside objective rationality in philosophy. Building on Monk's conception of philosophical biography, philosophical autobiography can be seen as any autobiography that reveals some interplay between life and thought. It is argued that almost all autobiographies by philosophers are philosophical because the recounting of one's own life is almost invariably a form of extended speech act of self-revelation. When a philosopher is the autobiographer, this self-revelation (...) illuminates the interplay between thought, life, and personality. Understanding how this works allows us to address three problems of biography raised by Honderich: how to give an account of something as large and complex as a human life; how a life-story is also a judgment; and how we can justify identifying one part of a causal circumstance as 'the cause'. There is also a new ethical problem raised about the autobiographer's right to make public details of a shared private life. (shrink)
Designed for complete beginners, Philosophy: Key Texts is an introduction to philosophy and gives a clear, readable overview of five major texts by Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Sartre, and Russell. As well as providing help in how to analyze these sources, Baggini encourages the reader to question the arguments and positions presented. Invaluable at the start of a course of study, as a concise revision aid, or as a lucid, jargon-free guide for anyone who wants an insight into philosophy, Philosophy: Key (...) Texts can be used either independently of, or together with, its companion volume Philosophy: Key Themes. (shrink)
What do real philosophers do? What are the big philosophical issues of today? Clear and engaging, New British Philosophy contains sixteen fascinating interviews with some of the top philosophers working in Britain today, on topics that range from music to the mind and feminism to the future of philosophy. This unique snapshot of philosophy today includes interviews with: Ray Monk, Nigel Warburton, Aaron Ridley, Jonathan Wolff, Roger Crisp, Rae Langton, Miranda Fricker, M.G.F. Martin, Timothy Williamson, Tim Crane, Robin Le Poidevin, (...) Christina Howells, Simon Critchley Simon Glendinning, Stephen Mulhall and Keith Ansell Pearson. (shrink)
“Socrates spent many of his prime years fighting the most vicious, pitiless wars. I think that has a huge impact. I wonder if his central interest in the good is because actually he saw a lot that was very bad all around him.”.