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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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
The first edition, published by Acumen in 2000, became a prescribed textbook on modal logic courses. The second edition has been fully revised in response to readers' suggestions, including two new chapters on conditional logic, which was not covered in the first edition. "Modal Logics and Philosophy" is a fully comprehensive introduction to modal logics and their application suitable for course use. Unlike most modal logic textbooks, which are both forbidding mathematically and short on philosophical discussion, "Modal Logics and Philosophy" places its emphasis firmly on showing how useful modal logic can be as a tool for formal philosophical analysis. In part 1 of the book, the reader is introduced to some standard systems of modal logic and encouraged through a series of exercises to become proficient in manipulating these logics. The emphasis is on possible world semantics for modal logics and the semantic emphasis is carried into the formal method, Jeffrey-style truth-trees. Standard truth-trees are extended in a simple and transparent way to take possible worlds into account. Part 2 systematically explores the applications of modal logic to philosophical issues such as truth, time, processes, knowledge and belief, obligation and permission.
In the first systematic study of the philosophy of Thomas Nagel, Alan Thomas discusses Nagel's contrast between the "subjective" and the "objective" points of view throughout the various areas of his wide ranging philosophy. Nagel's original and distinctive contrast between the subjective view and our aspiration to a "view from nowhere" within metaphysics structures the chapters of the book. A "new Humean" in epistemology, Nagel takes philosophical scepticism to be both irrefutable and yet to indicate a profound truth about our capacity for self-transcendence. The contrast between subjective and objective views is then considered in the case of the mind, where consciousness proves to be the central aspect of mind that contemporary theorising fails to acknowledge adequately. The second half of the book analyses Nagel's work on moral and political philosophy where he has been most deeply influential. Topics covered include the contrast between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons and values, Nagel's distinctive version of a hybrid ethical theory, his discussion of life's meaningfulness and finally his sceptical arguments about whether a liberal society can reconcile the conflicting moral demands of self and other.
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.
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.
Karl Popper has been hailed as the greatest philosopher of all time and as a thinker whose influence is ackowledged by a variety of scholars. This work demonstrates Popper's importance across the whole range of philosophy and provides an introduction to the main themes of philosophy itself.
The Making of a Philosopher follows Colin McGinn from his early years in England, reading Descartes and Anselm, to his years in the States, first in Los Angeles, then New York. McGinn presents a contemporary academic take on the great philosophical figures of the twentieth century -- including Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Noam Chomsky -- alongside stories of the teachers who informed his ideas and often became friends and mentors, especially the colorful A. J. Ayer at Oxford.
Always elegant and probing, The Making of a Philosopher is for the student of contemporary philosophy as well as the general reader. Both will absorb every page.
An illuminating celebration of more than 80 of the world's most important thinkers, this book explores the fascinating stories of their lives, their loves, and their pioneering ideas. Introduced with a stunning portrait of each featured philosopher, entries trace the ideas and beliefs, and the relationships and rivalries that inspired the great thinkers and influenced their work, providing revealing insights into what drove them to question the meaning of life and come up with new ways of understanding the world. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and paintings of philosophers, their homes, friends, studies, and their personal belongings, together with pages from original manuscripts, first editions, and correspondence, this book introduces the key ideas, themes, and working methods of each featured individual, setting their ideas within a wider historical and cultural context. Charting the development of ideas across the centuries in both the East and West, from ancient Chinese philosophy to the work of contemporary thinkers, Philosophers provides a compelling glimpse into the personal lives, loves, and influences of the great philosophers as they probed into life's "big ideas".
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.
Now published in English, this work takes a structuralist approach to the relation between Nietzsche's thought and his life. The author emphasizes the centrality of the notion of "eternal return" for understanding Nietzsche's propensities for self-denial, self-reputation and self-consumption. Nietzsche's ideas did not stem from personal pathology, according to Klossowski. Rather, he made a pathological use of his best ideas, anchoring them in his own fluctuating bodily and mental conditions. Thus Nietzsche's belief that questions of truth and morality are basically questions of power and fitness, resonates dynamically and intellectually with his alternating lucidity and delirium.
What would Caligula do? What the worst Roman emperors can teach us about how not to lead If recent history has taught us anything, it's that sometimes the best guide to leadership is the negative example. But that insight is hardly new. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Suetonius wrote Lives of the Caesars, perhaps the greatest negative leadership book of all time. He was ideally suited to write about terrible political leaders; after all, he was also the author of Famous Prostitutes and Words of Insult, both sadly lost. In How to Be a Bad Emperor, Josiah Osgood provides crisp new translations of Suetonius's briskly paced, darkly comic biographies of the Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero. Entertaining and shocking, the stories of these ancient anti-role models show how power inflames leaders' worst tendencies, causing almost incalculable damage. Complete with an introduction and the original Latin on facing pages, How to Be a Bad Emperor is both a gleeful romp through some of the nastiest bits of Roman history and a perceptive account of leadership gone monstrously awry. We meet Caesar, using his aunt's funeral to brag about his descent from gods and kings-and hiding his bald head with a comb-over and a laurel crown; Tiberius, neglecting public affairs in favor of wine, perverse sex, tortures, and executions; the insomniac sadist Caligula, flaunting his skill at cruel put-downs; and the matricide Nero, indulging his mania for public performance. In a world bristling with strongmen eager to cast themselves as the Caesars of our day, How to Be a Bad Emperor is a delightfully enlightening guide to the dangers of power without character.
In a virtuoso display of erudition, thoughtfulness and humour, Terry Eagleton teases apart the concept of hope as it has been (often mistakenly) conceptualised over six millennia, from ancient Greece to today. He distinguishes hope from simple optimism, cheeriness, desire, idealism or adherence to the doctrine of Progress, bringing into focus a standpoint that requires reflection and commitment, arises from clear-sighted rationality, can be cultivated by practice and self-discipline, and which acknowledges but refuses to capitulate to the realities of failure and defeat. Authentic hope is indubitably tragic, yet Eagleton also argues for its radical implications as 'a species of permanent revolution, whose enemy is as much political complacency as metaphysical despair'. It is a means of facing the future without devaluing the moment or obviating the past. Traversing centuries of thought about the many modes of hoping - from Ernst Bloch's monumental work through the Stoics, Aquinas, Marx and Kierkegaard, among others - this penetrating book throws new light on religious faith and political ideology as well as issues such as the problem of evil, the role of language and the meaning of the past. Hope Without Optimism is a brilliantly engaged, impassioned chronicle of human belief and desire in an increasingly uncertain world.
The life and thought of Bakunin has contemporary relevance, particularly for his definitions of freedom. This book confirms that his holistic thinking was dominated by a desire to achieve a unity of theory and practice. "Everything about him is colossalhe is full of a primitive exuberance and strength."--Richard Wagner
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.
In THE CRITIQUE OF JUDGMENT (1790), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) seeks to establish the a priori principles underlying the faculty of judgement, just as he did in his previous critiques of pure and practical reason. The first part deals with the subject of our aesthetic sensibility; we respond to certain natural phenomena as beautiful, says Kant, when we recognise in nature a harmonious order that satisfies the mind's own need for order. The second half of the critique concentrates on the apparent teleology in nature's design of organisms. Kant argues that our minds are inclined to see purpose and order in nature and this is the main principle underlying all of our judgements. Although this might imply a super sensible Designer, Kant insists that we cannot prove a supernatural dimension or the existence of God. Such considerations are beyond reason and are solely the province of faith.
An important selection from the largely unknown writings of women philosophers of the early modern period. Each selection is prefaced by a headnote giving a biographical account of its author and setting the piece in historical context. Atherton's Introduction provides a solid framework for assessing these works and their place in modern philosophy.
This book is a fully updated and expanded new edition of "An Introduction to Continental Philosophy," first published in 1996. It provides a clear, concise and readable introduction to philosophy in the continental tradition. It is a wide-ranging and reliable guide to the work of such major figures as Nietzsche, Habermas, Heidegger, Arendt, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida and Zižek. At the same time, it situates their thought within a coherent overall account of the development of continental philosophy since the Enlightenment.
Individual chapters consider the character of modernity, the Enlightenment and its continental critics; the ideas of Marxism, the Frankfurt School and Habermas; hermeneutics and phenomenology; existentialism; structuralism, post-structuralism and postmodernism. In addition to the thinkers already mentioned, there is extended discussion of the ideas of Kant, Hegel, Dilthey, Husserl, Gadamer, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir and Lyotard. The new edition includes an additional, full-length chapter on continental philosophy in the twenty-first century focusing on Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zižek.
"Continental Philosophy: An Introduction" is an invaluable introductory text for courses on continental philosophy as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences dealing with major figures or influential approaches within that tradition.
The leading anthology of writings of the modern period, Modern Philosophy provides the key works of seven major philosophers, along with a rich selection of associated texts by other leading thinkers of the period, chosen to deepen the reader's understanding of modern philosophy and its relationship to the natural sciences. Building on the strengths of the first edition, the second edition of Modern Philosophy is enhanced by the addition of the following selections: Montaigne, Apology for Raymond Sebond, "The Senses Are Inadequate" ; Newton, Principia, "General Scholium," and Optics, "Query 31"; Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Parts 1-5 and 9-12; Reid, Inquiry Into Human Mind , Conclusion, and Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, "Of Judgment,"chap. 2, Of Common Sense
Four fundamental and interrelated intellectual orientations were found to characterize the thought of a global range of thinkers, disciplines, and cultures (Western, Eastern and African). This volume consists of a review of the four types in Western philosophy.
Professor Pietersen has made contributions to philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, jurisprudence, and business and human resource management.
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