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'If you only read one book this year, make it this one' CATHY RENTZENBRINK
'This book must be read by as many people as possible - only when people change their view of human nature will they begin to believe in the possibility of building a better world' GRACE BLAKELEY
'It'd be no surprise if it proved to be the Sapiens of 2020' GUARDIAN
It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest.
Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too.
In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world's most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram's Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think - and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society.
It is time for a new view of human nature.
The Cambridge History of Modern European Thought is an authoritative and comprehensive exploration of the themes, thinkers, and movements that shaped our intellectual world from the late eighteenth century to the present. Representing both individual figures and the contexts within which they developed their ideas, this two-volume history is rich with original interpretive insight, and is written in a clear and accessible style by leading scholars in the field. Renouncing a single 'master narrative' of European thought across the period, Warren Breckman and Peter E. Gordon establish a formidable new multi-faceted vision of European intellectual history for the global modern age.
What is to be done? This was the question asked by Lenin in 1901 when he was having doubts about the revolutionary capabilities of the Russian working class. 77 years later, Louis Althusser asked the same question. Faced with the tidal wave of May '68 and the recurrent hostility of the Communist Party towards the protests, he wanted to offer readers a succinct guide for the revolution to come. Lively, brilliant and engaged, this short text is wholly oriented towards one objective: to organise the working class struggle. Althusser provides a sharp critique of Antonio Gramsci's writings and of Eurocommunism, which seduced various Marxists at the time. But this book is above all the opportunity for Althusser to state what he had not succeeded in articulating elsewhere: what concrete conditions would need to be satisfied before the revolution could take place. Left unfinished, it is published here in English for the first time.
This edition contains Donald Cress's completely revised translation of the Meditations (from the corrected Latin edition) and recent corrections to Discourse on Method , bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while maintaining the clear and accessible style of a classic teaching edition.
Death is increasingly on the agenda for baby boomers moving ever closer to it. Timothy Leary brings some startlingly fresh ideas to this topic. Fundamentally, he claims, we have been brainwashed by our institutions -- government, organized religion, the healthcare industry -- to accept death as an inevitable end. Leary argues instead that death is misunderstood, that we don't "have" to die, and that there are "commonsense alternatives." His theory rests on the transhumanist approach that says human beings are evolving into spiritual machines -- beings that are part human and part machine and eventually will not die as the term is commonly understood. Being fitted with machine parts like bionic knees is part of this process. And as we evolve through the cybernetic age, he says, we will gain new wisdom that broadens our definition of personal immortality and gene-pool survival -- the "postbiologic option of the information species."
A spirited new translation of a forgotten classic, shot through with timeless wisdom Is there an art to drinking alcohol? Can drinking ever be a virtue? The Renaissance humanist and neoclassical poet Vincent Obsopoeus (ca. 1498-1539) thought so. In the winelands of sixteenth-century Germany, he witnessed the birth of a poisonous new culture of bingeing, hazing, peer pressure, and competitive drinking. Alarmed, and inspired by the Roman poet Ovid's Art of Love, he wrote The Art of Drinking (De Arte Bibendi) (1536), a how-to manual for drinking with pleasure and discrimination. In How to Drink, Michael Fontaine offers the first proper English translation of Obsopoeus's text, rendering his poetry into spirited, contemporary prose and uncorking a forgotten classic that will appeal to drinkers of all kinds and (legal) ages. Arguing that moderation, not abstinence, is the key to lasting sobriety, and that drinking can be a virtue if it is done with rules and limits, Obsopoeus teaches us how to manage our drinking, how to win friends at social gatherings, and how to give a proper toast. But he also says that drinking to excess on occasion is okay-and he even tells us how to win drinking games, citing extensive personal experience. Complete with the original Latin on facing pages, this sparkling work is as intoxicating today as when it was first published.
Timeless advice on how to be a successful leader in any field The ancient biographer and essayist Plutarch thought deeply about the leadership qualities of the eminent Greeks and Romans he profiled in his famous-and massive-Lives, including politicians and generals such as Pericles, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony. Luckily for us, Plutarch distilled what he learned about wise leadership in a handful of essays, which are filled with essential lessons for experienced and aspiring leaders in any field today. In How to Be a Leader, Jeffrey Beneker presents the most important of these essays in lively new translations accompanied by an enlightening introduction, informative notes, and the original Greek on facing pages. In "To an Uneducated Leader," "How to Be a Good Leader," and "Should an Old Man Engage in Politics?" Plutarch explains the characteristics of successful leaders, from being guided by reason and exercising self-control to being free from envy and the love of power, illustrating his points with memorable examples drawn from legendary Greco-Roman lives. He also explains how to train for leadership, persuade and deal with colleagues, manage one's career, and much more. Writing at the height of the Roman Empire, Plutarch suggested that people should pursue positions of leadership only if they are motivated by "judgment and reason"-not "rashly inspired by the vain pursuit of glory, a sense of rivalry, or a lack of other meaningful activities." His wise counsel remains as relevant as ever.
"Identity and Difference" consists of English translations and the original German versions of two little-known lectures given in 1957 by Martin Heidegger: "The Principle of Identity" and "The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics," both discussions of the problem of identity in the history of metaphysics. A helpful introduction and a list of references are also provided by translator Joan Stambaugh.
Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy , the fundamental and originating work of the modern era in Western philosophy, is presented here in Donald Cress's completely revised edition of his well-established translation, bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while maintaining its clear and accessible style.
This expanded edition of James Ellington's preeminent translation includes Ellington's new translation of Kant's essay Of a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns in which Kant replies to one of the standard objections to his moral theory as presented in the main text: that it requires us to tell the truth even in the face of disastrous consequences.
Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Essays contains complete translations of the two essays that constitute the best introduction to Leibniz's complete thought: 'Discourse on Metaphysics', a short course in his metaphysics, written in 1686 at the time his mature thought was just crystalising and 'Monadology' of 1714, a summary of Leibniz's mature metaphysics, written late in his long career. These are supplemented with two essays of special interest to the student of modern philosophy, 'On the Ultimate Origination of Things' of 1697, which deals clearly with Leibniz's celebrated doctrine of contingency and creation, and the Preface to his New Essays of 1703-1705, which presents a brief and coherent overview of his epistemological position, particularly as it relates to the empiricism of Locke.
This new edition is the product of a collaboration between a Germanist and a philosopher who is also a Nietzsche scholar. The translation strives not only to communicate a sense of Nietzsche's style but also to convey his meaning accuratelyaand thus to be an important advance on previous translations of this work. A superb set of notes ensures that Clark and Swensen's Genealogy will become the new edition of choice for classroom use.
Contemporary philosopher John Searle has characterized Gottfried
Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) as "the most intelligent human being
who has ever lived." The German philosopher, mathematician, and
logician invented calculus (independently of Sir Isaac Newton),
topology, determinants, binary arithmetic, symbolic logic, rational
mechanics, and much more. His metaphysics bequeathed a set of
problems and approaches that have influenced the course of Western
philosophy from Kant in the eighteenth century until the present
A brief, accessible history of the idea of purpose in Western thought, from ancient Greece to the present Can we live without the idea of purpose? Should we even try to? Kant thought we were stuck with purpose, and even Darwin's theory of natural selection, which profoundly shook the idea, was unable to kill it. Indeed, teleological explanation--what Aristotle called understanding in terms of "final causes"--seems to be making a comeback today, as both religious proponents of intelligent design and some prominent secular philosophers argue that any explanation of life without the idea of purpose is missing something essential. In On Purpose, Michael Ruse explores the history of the idea of purpose in philosophical, religious, scientific, and historical thought, from ancient Greece to the present. Accessibly written and filled with literary and other examples, the book examines "purpose" thinking in the natural and human world. It shows how three ideas about purpose have been at the heart of Western thought for more than two thousand years. In the Platonic view, purpose results from the planning of a human or divine being; in the Aristotelian, purpose stems from a tendency or principle of order in the natural world; and in the Kantian, purpose is essentially heuristic, or something to be discovered, an idea given substance by Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection. On Purpose traces the profound and fascinating implications of these ways of thinking about purpose. Along the way, it takes up tough questions about the purpose of life and whether it's possible to have meaning without purpose, revealing that purpose is still a vital and pressing issue.
Hume's brilliant and dispassionate essay Of Miracles has been added in this expanded edition of his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , which also includes Of the Immortality of the Soul,Of Suicide, and Richard Popkin's illuminating Introduction.
Pablo Oyarzun is one of the foremost Benjamin scholars in Latin America. His writings have shaped the reception of Benjamin's work in Latin America and have been central to the effort to identify the tasks and responsibilities of the kind of critical theory that would interrupt social violence. In this book Oyarzun examines some of the key concepts in Benjamin's work - including his concepts of translation, experience, history and storytelling - and relates them to his own systematic reflection on the nature and implications of 'doing justice'. What is meant by the words 'justice was done'? The passive voice is important here. On the one hand, justice does nothing: it is not an agent, it can only prevail or fail, and if it fails, it does so without limit. On the other hand, the passive voice alludes to the agents of an action while covering them up; the allusion is the masking of the identity and traces of the person who accomplishes the action. And this cover-up can be dangerous: it can cover-up the executioners, who are subjects that everyone can confirm anonymously, without their being recognized and without their wanting to be recognized. Justice, argues Oyarzun, can only be done in the active effort to do justice - or, as Benjamin would say, in the striving to turn the world into the highest good. This book by one of Chile's most distinguished philosophers will be of value to anyone interested in Benjamin's work and in the development of critical theory in Latin America.
A sophisticated and original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics from one of the world's leading philosophers of physics In this book, Tim Maudlin, one of the world's leading philosophers of physics, offers a sophisticated, original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The briefest, clearest, and most refined account of his influential approach to the subject, the book will be invaluable to all students of philosophy and physics. Quantum mechanics holds a unique place in the history of physics. It has produced the most accurate predictions of any scientific theory, but, more astonishing, there has never been any agreement about what the theory implies about physical reality. Maudlin argues that the very term "quantum theory" is a misnomer. A proper physical theory should clearly describe what is there and what it does-yet standard textbooks present quantum mechanics as a predictive recipe in search of a physical theory. In contrast, Maudlin explores three proper theories that recover the quantum predictions: the indeterministic wavefunction collapse theory of Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber; the deterministic particle theory of deBroglie and Bohm; and the conceptually challenging Many Worlds theory of Everett. Each offers a radically different proposal for the nature of physical reality, but Maudlin shows that none of them are what they are generally taken to be.
In 1998, the first edition of Anthony Kenny's comprehensive history of Western philosophy was published, to be met with immediate praise and critical acclaim. As the first book since Bertrand Russell's 1945 A History of Western Philosophy to offer a concise single-author review of the complete history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the modern masters of the 20th century, Kenny's work fills a critical gap in the modern philosophy reading list and offers valuable guidance for the general reader of philosophy--an ideal starting point for anyone with an interest in great thinkers and the family lines of philosophical evolution. Widely considered to be one of the most thorough and accessible historical reviews in philosophy, An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy has earned an estimable and distinctive reputation, both for the compelling writing style of Anthony Kenny, one of the most respected and accomplished living philosophers, and for the rich collection of paintings, illustrations, maps, and photos included with every chapter to complement this review of 2,500 years of philosophical thought. Newly revised and expanded for a special 20th anniversary publication, the latest edition of An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy contains all of Kenny's original writings on the history of Western philosophy from ancient to modern, along with new writings on the philosophy of the mid-20th century, covering important contributions from continental philosophers and philosophers of the post-Wittgenstein anglophone tradition, including the work of many women who have too often been neglected by the historical record.
David Hume is the greatest and also one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in the English language. No philosopher is more important for his careful, critical, and deeply perceptive examination of the grounds for belief in divine powers and for his sceptical accounts of the causes and consequences of religious belief, expressed most powerfully in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion. The Dialogues ask if belief in God can be inferred from the nature of the universe or whether it is even consistent with what we know about the universe. The Natural History of Religion investigates the origins of belief, and follows its development from harmless polytheism to dogmatic monotheism. Together they constitute the most formidable attack upon the rationality of religious belief ever mounted by a philosopher. This edition also includes Section XI of The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and a letter concerning the Dialogues, as well as particularly helpful critical apparatus and abstracts of the main texts, enabling the reader to locate or relocate key topics. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
In this book Alexander Garcia Duttman explores and expands the works of Heidegger, Rosenzweig, Adorno, Benjamin, and Derrida. Out of his very fresh and pointed re-reading, he uncovers a peculiar correspondence of obsessions, interests, and priorities between these diverse twentieth century philosophies. And from these discoveries Duttman details a singular philosophical theory of memory and promise.
Duttman's methodology is as groundbreaking as his discoveries. Alan Udoff writes: "This is not an exposition in the conventional sense: a scholarly, historical report, with some attempt at criticism. Rather, it is at every turn a thinking through of certain texts, a thinking that, in putting questions to the texts ... reveals or releases what is ... stored in those texts". Duttman's questions are so philosophically and theologically penetrating that the reader is set out in new direction of thinking.
While Duttman's book helps the reader achieve a new understanding of the gift of language in the works of Adorno, Benjamin, Heidegger, and Rosenzweig, his study also is fraught with implications for reading Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas and Lyotard.
Alasdair MacIntyre is one of the most controversial philosophers and social theorists of our time. He opposes liberalism and postmodernism with the teleological arguments of an updated Thomistic Aristotelianism. It is this tradition, he claims, which presents the best theory so far about the nature of rationality, morality, and politics. This is the first reader of MacIntyre's groundbreaking work. It includes extracts from and his own synopses of two famous books from the 1980s, After Virtue and Whose Justice? Which Rationality? as well as the whole of several shorter works and two interviews. Together, these pieces constitute not only a representative collection of his work but also the most powerful and accessible presentation of his arguments yet available. The MacIntyre Reader concludes with Kelvin Knight's clear and insightful overview of MacIntyre's central ideas and their development in his writings. Students will find this book an excellent introduction to one of the great thinkers of our time.
Based on the author's lectures at the Judisches Freies Lehrhaus, these essays include notes for a group of lectures of 1920, Faith and Knowledge, followed by a three-part lecture series of 1922, The Science of God, The Science of Man, and The Science of World.
When Rousseau first read his Confessions to a 1770 gathering in
Paris, reactions varied from admiration of his candor to doubts
about his sanity to outrage. Indeed, Rousseau's intent and approach
were revolutionary. As one of the first attempts at autobiography,
the Confessions' novelty lay not in just its retelling the facts of
Rousseau's life, but in its revelation of his innermost feelings
and its frank description of the strengths and failings of his
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