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Books > Philosophy > Western philosophy

Humankind - A Hopeful History (Paperback): Rutger Bregman Humankind - A Hopeful History (Paperback)
Rutger Bregman 1
R320 R219 Discovery Miles 2 190 Save R101 (32%) In stock

'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.

American Cop - Upholding the Constitution and Defending Your Right to Bear Arms (Paperback): Loren Culp American Cop - Upholding the Constitution and Defending Your Right to Bear Arms (Paperback)
Loren Culp; Foreword by Ted Nugent
R346 R297 Discovery Miles 2 970 Save R49 (14%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
The Essential Jung - Selected Writings (Paperback, Reissue): Anthony Storr The Essential Jung - Selected Writings (Paperback, Reissue)
Anthony Storr
R313 R229 Discovery Miles 2 290 Save R84 (27%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

A sparkling and up-to-date new cover for one of Fontana Press's strongest-selling titles. 'Jung was on a giant scale...he was a master physician of the soul in his insights, a profound sage in his conclusions. He is also one of Western Man's great liberators.' J. B. Priestly, Sunday Telegraph 'Jung can sometimes rise to the heights of a Blake or a Nietzsche or a Kierkegaard...like any true prophet or artist, he extended the range of the human imagination...to be able to share Jungian emotions is surely an almost necessary capacity of the free mind.' Philip Toynbee, Observer This compact volume of extracts from the twenty volumes of Jung's published writings presents him clearly, in his own words and in precis. Jung's writing is the key to understanding 20th-century psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Most of the terms of reference now used ('extrovert', 'collective unconscious', 'archetype') are Jungian. This is essential reading for both students of psychology and the general reader.

Humankind - A Hopeful History (Hardcover): Rutger Bregman Humankind - A Hopeful History (Hardcover)
Rutger Bregman; Translated by Elizabeth Manton, Erica Moore
R734 R585 Discovery Miles 5 850 Save R149 (20%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
How to Drink - A Classical Guide to the Art of Imbibing (Hardcover): Vincent Obsopoeus How to Drink - A Classical Guide to the Art of Imbibing (Hardcover)
Vincent Obsopoeus; Translated by Michael Fontaine; Commentary by Michael Fontaine; Edited by Michael Fontaine
R401 R327 Discovery Miles 3 270 Save R74 (18%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

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.

Oration on the Dignity of Man (Paperback): Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola Oration on the Dignity of Man (Paperback)
Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola; Translated by A Robert Gaponigri
R296 R239 Discovery Miles 2 390 Save R57 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

An ardent treatise for the Dignity of Man, which elevates Humanism to a truly Christian level, making this writing as pertinent today as it was in the Fifteenth Century.

On Purpose (Hardcover): Michael Ruse On Purpose (Hardcover)
Michael Ruse
R727 R496 Discovery Miles 4 960 Save R231 (32%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

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.

The Republic (Paperback): Plato The Republic (Paperback)
Plato; Foreword by Simon Blackburn; Translated by Benjamin Jowett
R160 R139 Discovery Miles 1 390 Save R21 (13%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Packaged in handsome, affordable trade editions, Clydesdale Classics is a new series of essential works. From the musings of intellectuals such as Thomas Paine in Common Sense to the striking personal narrative of Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, this new series is a comprehensive collection of our intellectual history through the words of the exceptional few. Originating in approximately 380 BC, Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by famed Greek philosopher Plato. Often referred to as Plato's masterwork, Republic's central goal is to define the ideal state. By conceptualizing this model state, Greeks believed it would lead states formed with its principles in mind to function the most efficiently and fairly, striving toward justice and the greater good of society. This edition includes a foreword by British American philosopher and Plato expert Simon Blackburn. Widely read around the world by philosophy students and academics alike, Plato's Republic is sure to pass on its invaluable lessons and enlighten the next generation of thinkers.

Philosopher of the Heart - The Restless Life of Soren Kierkegaard (Paperback): Clare Carlisle Philosopher of the Heart - The Restless Life of Soren Kierkegaard (Paperback)
Clare Carlisle 1
R255 R204 Discovery Miles 2 040 Save R51 (20%) Ships in 5 - 10 working days

Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement 'This lucid and riveting new biography at once rescuses Kierkegaard from the scholars and shows why he is such an intriguing and useful figure' Observer Soren Kierkegaard, one of the most passionate and challenging of modern philosophers, is now celebrated as the father of existentialism - yet his contemporaries described him as a philosopher of the heart. Over about a decade in the 1840s and 1850s, writings poured from his pen analysing love and suffering, courage and anxiety, religious longing and defiance, and forging a new philosophical style rooted in the inward drama of being human. As Christianity seemed to sleepwalk through a changing world, Kierkegaard dazzlingly revealed its spiritual power while exposing the poverty of official religion. His restless creativity was spurred on by his own failures: his relationship with the young woman whom he promised to marry, then left to devote himself to writing, haunted him throughout his life. Though tormented by the pressures of celebrity, he deliberately lived amidst the crowds in Copenhagen, known by everyone but, he felt, understood by no one. When he collapsed exhausted at the age of 42, he was still pursuing the question of existence: how to be a human being in this world? Clare Carlisle's innovative and moving biography writes Kierkegaard's remarkable life as far as possible from his own perspective, conveying what it was like to be this Socrates of Christendom - as he put it, living life forwards yet only understanding it backwards.

The Art of Rhetoric (Paperback): Aristotle The Art of Rhetoric (Paperback)
Aristotle
R77 R65 Discovery Miles 650 Save R12 (16%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics... Despite dating from the 4th century BC, The Art of Rhetoric continues to be regarded by many as the single most important work on the art of persuasion. As democracy began emerging in 5th-century Athens, public speaking and debate became an increasingly important tool to garner influence in the assemblies, councils, and law courts of ancient Greece. In response to this, both politicians and ordinary citizens became desperate to learn greater skills in this area, as well as the philosophy behind it. This treatise was one of the first to provide just that, establishing methods and observations of informal reasoning and style, and has continued to be hugely influential on public speaking and philosophy today. Aristotle, the grandfather of philosophy, student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great, was one of the first people to create a comprehensive system of philosophy, encompassing logic, morality, aesthetics, politics, ethics, and science. Although written over 2,000 years ago, The Art of Rhetoric remains a comprehensive introduction for philosophy students into the subject of rhetoric, as well as a useful manual for anyone today looking to improve their oratory skills of persuasion.

Alternatives to Involuntary Death (Paperback): Timothy Leary Alternatives to Involuntary Death (Paperback)
Timothy Leary
R298 R241 Discovery Miles 2 410 Save R57 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

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."

Straw Dogs - Thoughts On Humans And Other Animals (Paperback): John Gray Straw Dogs - Thoughts On Humans And Other Animals (Paperback)
John Gray
R395 R320 Discovery Miles 3 200 Save R75 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

The British bestseller "Straw Dogs "is an exciting, radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. John Gray argues that this belief in human difference is a dangerous illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. The result is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that leads the reader to question our deepest-held beliefs. Will Self, in the "New Statesman," called "Straw Dogs "his book of the year: "I read it once, I read it twice and took notes . . . I thought it that good." "Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book" ("Sunday Telegraph").

Philosophical Investigations (Paperback, 4th Edition): Ludwig Wittgenstein Philosophical Investigations (Paperback, 4th Edition)
Ludwig Wittgenstein; Edited by P.M.S. Hacker, Joachim Schulte
R632 Discovery Miles 6 320 Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Incorporating significant editorial changes from earlier editions, the fourth edition of Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" is the definitive "en face" German-English version of the most important work of 20th-century philosophy

The extensively revised English translation incorporates many hundreds of changes to Anscombe's original translation Footnoted remarks in the earlier editions have now been relocated in the text What was previously referred to as 'Part 2' is now republished as "Philosophy of Psychology - A Fragment," and all the remarks in it are numbered for ease of reference New detailed editorial endnotes explain decisions of translators and identify references and allusions in Wittgenstein's original text Now features new essays on the history of the "Philosophical Investigations," and the problems of translating Wittgenstein's text

How to Win an Argument - An Ancient Guide to the Art of Persuasion (Hardcover): Marcus Tullius Cicero How to Win an Argument - An Ancient Guide to the Art of Persuasion (Hardcover)
Marcus Tullius Cicero; Edited by James M. May
R394 R327 Discovery Miles 3 270 Save R67 (17%) In stock

All of us are faced countless times with the challenge of persuading others, whether we're trying to win a trivial argument with a friend or convince our coworkers about an important decision. Instead of relying on untrained instinct--and often floundering or failing as a result--we'd win more arguments if we learned the timeless art of verbal persuasion, rhetoric. How to Win an Argument gathers the rhetorical wisdom of Cicero, ancient Rome's greatest orator, from across his works and combines it with passages from his legal and political speeches to show his powerful techniques in action. The result is an enlightening and entertaining practical introduction to the secrets of persuasive speaking and writing--including strategies that are just as effective in today's offices, schools, courts, and political debates as they were in the Roman forum. How to Win an Argument addresses proof based on rational argumentation, character, and emotion; the parts of a speech; the plain, middle, and grand styles; how to persuade no matter what audience or circumstances you face; and more. Cicero's words are presented in lively translations, with illuminating introductions; the book also features a brief biography of Cicero, a glossary, suggestions for further reading, and an appendix of the original Latin texts. Astonishingly relevant, this unique anthology of Cicero's rhetorical and oratorical wisdom will be enjoyed by anyone who ever needs to win arguments and influence people--in other words, all of us.

The Trials of Socrates - Six Classic Texts (Paperback): Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, C. D. C Reeve The Trials of Socrates - Six Classic Texts (Paperback)
Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, C. D. C Reeve
R383 R348 Discovery Miles 3 480 Save R35 (9%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Lampooned in 406 B.C.E. in a blistering Aristophanic satire, Socrates was tried in 399 B.C.E. on a charge of corrupting the youth, convicted by a jury of about five hundred of his peers, and condemned to death. Glimpsed today through the extant writings of his contemporaries and near-contemporaries, he remains for us as compelling, enigmatic, and elusive a figure as Jesus or Buddha. Although present-day (like ancient Greek) opinion on the real Socrates diverges widely, six classic texts that any informed judgment of him must take into account appear together, for the first time, in this volume. Those of Plato and Xenophon appear in new, previously unpublished translations that combine accuracy, accessibility, and readability; that of Aristophanes' Clouds offers these same qualities in an unbowdlerized translation that captures brilliantly the bite of Aristophanes' wit. An Introduction to each text and judicious footnotes provide crucial background information and important cross-references.

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy (Paperback, 4th edition): Rene Descartes Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy (Paperback, 4th edition)
Rene Descartes; Translated by Donald A Cress
R326 R301 Discovery Miles 3 010 Save R25 (8%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

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.

Freud - An Intellectual Biography (Paperback): Joel Whitebook Freud - An Intellectual Biography (Paperback)
Joel Whitebook
R611 R493 Discovery Miles 4 930 Save R118 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

The life and work of Sigmund Freud continue to fascinate general and professional readers alike. Joel Whitebook here presents the first major biography of Freud since the last century, taking into account recent developments in psychoanalytic theory and practice, gender studies, philosophy, cultural theory, and more. Offering a radically new portrait of the creator of psychoanalysis, this book explores the man in all his complexity alongside an interpretation of his theories that cuts through the stereotypes that surround him. The development of Freud's thinking is addressed not only in the context of his personal life, but also in that of society and culture at large, while the impact of his thinking on subsequent issues of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and social theory is fully examined. Whitebook demonstrates that declarations of Freud's obsolescence are premature, and, with his clear and engaging style, brings this vivid figure to life in compelling and readable fashion.

Identity and Difference (Paperback, New edition): Martin Heidegger Identity and Difference (Paperback, New edition)
Martin Heidegger; Translated by Joan Stambaugh
R735 Discovery Miles 7 350 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

"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.

How to Be a Leader - An Ancient Guide to Wise Leadership (Hardcover): Plutarch How to Be a Leader - An Ancient Guide to Wise Leadership (Hardcover)
Plutarch; Translated by Jeffrey Beneker; Edited by Jeffrey Beneker
R450 R334 Discovery Miles 3 340 Save R116 (26%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

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.

Kant: Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason - And Other Writings (Paperback, 2nd Revised edition): Immanuel Kant Kant: Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason - And Other Writings (Paperback, 2nd Revised edition)
Immanuel Kant; Edited by Allen Wood, George Di Giovanni
R643 Discovery Miles 6 430 Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics not often treated by philosophers, including such traditional theological concepts as original sin and the salvation or 'justification' of a sinner, and the idea of the proper role of a church. This new edition includes slightly revised translations, a revised introduction with expanded discussion of certain key themes in the work, and up-to-date guidance on further reading.

Plato: The Apology of Socrates and Xenophon: The Apology of Socrates (Paperback): Plato, Xenophon Plato: The Apology of Socrates and Xenophon: The Apology of Socrates (Paperback)
Plato, Xenophon; Edited by Nicholas Denyer
R552 Discovery Miles 5 520 Ships in 10 - 15 working days

In 399 BC Socrates was prosecuted, convicted, sentenced to death and executed. These events were the culmination of a long philosophical career, a career in which, without writing a word, he established himself as the figure whom all philosophers of the next few generations wished to follow. The Apologies (or Defence Speeches) by Plato and Xenophon are rival accounts of how, at his trial, Socrates defended himself and his philosophy. This edition brings together both Apologies within a single volume. The commentary answers literary, linguistic and philosophical questions in a way that is suitable for readers of all levels, helping teachers and students engage more closely with the Greek texts. The introduction examines Socrates himself, the literature generated by his trial, Athenian legal procedures, his guilt or innocence of the crimes for which he was executed, and the rivalry between Xenophon and Plato.

Machiavelli: Selected Political Writings (Paperback): Niccolo Machiavelli Machiavelli: Selected Political Writings (Paperback)
Niccolo Machiavelli; Edited by David Wooton
R393 R360 Discovery Miles 3 600 Save R33 (8%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Here are The Prince and the most important of the Discourses newly translated into spare, vivid English. Why a new translation? Machiavelli was never the dull, worthy, pedantic author who appears in the pages of other translations, says David Wootton in his Introduction. In the pages that follow I have done my best to let him speak in his own voice. (And indeed, Wootton's Machiavelli does just that when the occasion demands: renderings of that most problematic of words, virtu, are in each instance followed by the Italian). Notes, a map, and an altogether remarkable Introduction no less authoritative for being grippingly readable, help make this edition an ideal first encounter with Machiavelli for any student of history and political theory.

The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius (Paperback): Mark Forstater The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius (Paperback)
Mark Forstater
R369 R298 Discovery Miles 2 980 Save R71 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Written as a personal diary for spiritual development, Marcus Aurelius's "meditations" were not meant for publication nor posterity, yet the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher has provided inspiration and guidance for more than eighteen centuries.  Now, after nearly two thousand years, Mark Forster has adapted the ideas and principles relevant to the Roman world of the second century and has made them accessible to the twenty-first-century reader.

Modal Logics and Philosophy (Paperback, 2nd New edition): Rod Girle Modal Logics and Philosophy (Paperback, 2nd New edition)
Rod Girle
R897 Discovery Miles 8 970 Ships in 10 - 15 working days

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.

Thomas Nagel (Paperback): Alan Thomas Thomas Nagel (Paperback)
Alan Thomas
R823 Discovery Miles 8 230 Ships in 10 - 15 working days

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.

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