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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. 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.
In very recent times humanity has learnt a vast amount about the universe, the past, and itself. But through our remarkable successes in acquiring knowledge we have learned how much we have yet to learn: the science we have, for example, addresses just 5% of the universe; pre-history is still being revealed, with thousands of historical sites yet to be explored; and the new neurosciences of mind and brain are just beginning. What do we know, and how do we know it? What do we now know that we don't know? And what have we learnt about the obstacles to knowing more? In a time of deepening battles over what knowledge and truth mean, these questions matter more than ever. Bestselling polymath and philosopher A. C. Grayling seeks to answer them in three crucial areas at the frontiers of knowledge: science, history, and psychology. In each area he illustrates how each field has advanced to where it is now, from the rise of technology to quantum theory, from the dawn of humanity to debates around national histories, from ancient ideas of the brain to modern theories of the mind. A remarkable history of science, life on earth, and the human mind itself, this is a compelling and fascinating tour de force, written with Grayling's verve, clarity and remarkable breadth of knowledge.
A key introductory philosophy textbook, making use of an innovative, interactive technique for reading philosophical texts Reading Philosophy: Selected Texts with a Method for Beginners, Second Edition, provides a unique approach to reading philosophy, requiring students to engage with material as they read. It contains carefully selected texts, commentaries on those texts, and questions for the reader to think about as she reads. It serves as starting points for both classroom discussion and independent study. The texts cover a wide range of topics drawn from diverse areas of philosophical investigation, ranging over ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, and political philosophy. This edition has been updated and expanded. New chapters discuss the moral significance of friendship and love, the subjective nature of consciousness and the ways that science might explore conscious experience. And there are new texts and commentary in chapters on doubt, self and moral dilemmas. Guides readers through the experience of active, engaged philosophical reading Presents significant texts, contextualized for newcomers to philosophy Includes writings by philosophers from antiquity to the late 20th-century Contains commentary that provides the context and background necessary for discussion and argument Prompts readers to think through specific questions and to reach their own conclusions This book is an ideal resource for beginning students in philosophy, as well as for anyone wishing to engage with the subject on their own.
Timeless wisdom on generosity and gratitude from the great Stoic philosopher Seneca To give and receive well may be the most human thing you can do-but it is also the closest you can come to divinity. So argues the great Roman Stoic thinker Seneca (c. 4 BCE-65 CE) in his longest and most searching moral treatise, "On Benefits" (De Beneficiis). James Romm's splendid new translation of essential selections from this work conveys the heart of Seneca's argument that generosity and gratitude are among the most important of all virtues. For Seneca, the impulse to give to others lies at the very foundation of society; without it, we are helpless creatures, worse than wild beasts. But generosity did not arise randomly or by chance. Seneca sees it as part of our desire to emulate the gods, whose creation of the earth and heavens stands as the greatest gift of all. Seneca's soaring prose captures his wonder at that gift, and expresses a profound sense of gratitude that will inspire today's readers. Complete with an enlightening introduction and the original Latin on facing pages, How to Give is a timeless guide to the profound significance of true generosity.
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.
What the Roman poet Horace can teach us about how to live a life of contentment What are the secrets to a contented life? One of Rome's greatest and most influential poets, Horace (65-8 BCE) has been cherished by readers for more than two thousand years not only for his wit, style, and reflections on Roman society, but also for his wisdom about how to live a good life-above all else, a life of contentment in a world of materialistic excess and personal pressures. In How to Be Content, Stephen Harrison, a leading authority on the poet, provides fresh, contemporary translations of poems from across Horace's works that continue to offer important lessons about the good life, friendship, love, and death. Living during the reign of Rome's first emperor, Horace drew on Greek and Roman philosophy, especially Stoicism and Epicureanism, to write poems that reflect on how to live a thoughtful and moderate life amid mindless overconsumption, how to achieve and maintain true love and friendship, and how to face disaster and death with patience and courage. From memorable counsel on the pointlessness of worrying about the future to valuable advice about living in the moment, these poems, by the man who famously advised us to carpe diem, or "harvest the day," continue to provide brilliant meditations on perennial human problems. Featuring translations of, and commentary on, complete poems from Horace's Odes, Satires, Epistles, and Epodes, accompanied by the original Latin, How to Be Content is both an ideal introduction to Horace and a compelling book of timeless wisdom.
The middle of the second until the middle of the first century BCE is one of the most creative periods in the history of human thought, and an important part of this was the interaction between Roman jurists and Hellenistic philosophers. In this highly original book, Rene Brouwer shows how jurists transformed the study of law into a science with the help of philosophical methods and concepts, such as division, rules and persons, and also how philosophers came to share the jurists' preoccupations with cases and private property. The relevance of this cross-fertilization for present-day law and philosophy cannot be overestimated: in law, its legacy includes the academic study of law and the Western models of dispute resolution, while in philosophy, the method of casuistry and the concept of just property.
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
Phenomenology, the philosophical method that seeks to uncover the taken-for-granted presuppositions, habits, and norms that structure everyday experience, is increasingly framed by ethical and political concerns. Critical phenomenology foregrounds experiences of marginalization, oppression, and power in order to identify and transform common experiences of injustice that render "the familiar" a site of oppression for many. In 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology, leading scholars present fresh readings of classic phenomenological topics and introduce newer concepts developed by feminist theorists, critical race theorists, disability theorists, and queer and trans theorists that capture aspects of lived experience that have traditionally been neglected. By centering historically marginalized perspectives, the chapters in this book breathe new life into the phenomenological tradition and reveal its ethical, social, and political promise. The volume will be an invaluable resource for teaching and research in continental philosophy; feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; critical race theory; disability studies; cultural studies; and critical theory more generally.
A User's Guide to Melancholy takes Robert Burton's encyclopaedic masterpiece The Anatomy of Melancholy (first published in 1621) as a guide to one of the most perplexing, elusive, attractive, and afflicting diseases of the Renaissance. Burton's Anatomy is perhaps the largest, strangest, and most unwieldy self-help book ever written. Engaging with the rich cultural and literary framework of melancholy, this book traces its causes, symptoms, and cures through Burton's writing. Each chapter starts with a case study of melancholy - from the man who was afraid to urinate in case he drowned his town to the girl who purged a live eel - as a way into exploring the many facets of this mental affliction. A User's Guide to Melancholy presents in an accessible and illustrated format the colourful variety of Renaissance melancholy, and contributes to contemporary discussions about wellbeing by revealing the earlier history of mental health conditions.
Democracy in the twenty-first century faces a number of major challenges, populism, neoliberalism and globalisation being three of the most prominent. This book examines such challenges by investigating how the conditions of democratic statehood have been altered at several key historical intervals since 1945. It demonstrates that the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood, such as elections, have always been complemented by civic, cultural, educational, socio-economic and constitutional institutions that mediate between citizens and state authority. Rearticulating critical theory with a contemporary focus, the book shows why a sociological approach is urgently needed to address conceptual deficits and explain how the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood need to be complemented and updated in new ways today. -- .
In May 1975, Michel Foucault took LSD in the desert in southern California. He described it as the most important event of his life which would lead him to completely rework his History of Sexuality. His focus now would not be on power relations but on the experiments of subjectivity, and the care of the self. Through this lens he would reinterpret the social movements of May 68 and position himself politically in France in relation to the emergent ant-totalitarian and anti-welfare state currents. He would also come to appreciate the possibilities of autonomy offered by a new force on the French political scene that was neither of the Left nor the Right: neoliberalism.
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.
The first focused study of Nietzsche's Dawn, offering a close reading of the text by two of the leading scholars on the philosophy of Nietzsche Published in 1881, Dawn: Thoughts on the Presumptions of Morality represents a significant moment in the development of Nietzsche's philosophy and his break with German philosophic thought. Though groundbreaking in many ways, Dawn remains the least studied of Nietzsche's work. In Nietzsche's Dawn: Philosophy, Ethics, and the Passion of Knowledge, authors Keith Ansell-Pearson and Rebecca Bamford present a thorough treatment of the second of Nietzsche's so-called "free spirit" trilogy. This unique book explores Nietzsche's philosophy at the time of Dawn's writing and discusses the modern relevance of themes such as fear, superstition, terror, and moral and religious fanaticism. The authors highlight Dawn's links with key areas of philosophical inquiry, such as "the art of living well," skepticism, and naturalism. The book begins by introducing Dawn and discussing how to read Nietzsche, his literary and philosophical influences, his relation to German philosophy, and his efforts to advance his "free spirit" philosophy. Subsequent discussions address a wide range of topics relevant to Dawn, including presumptions of customary morality, hatred of the self, free-minded thinking, and embracing science and the passion of knowledge. Providing a lively and imaginative engagement with Nietzsche's text, this book: Highlights the importance of an often-neglected text from Nietzsche's middle writings Examines Nietzsche's campaign against customary morality Discusses Nietzsche's responsiveness to key Enlightenment ideas Offers insights on Nietzsche's philosophical practice and influences Contextualizes a long-overlooked work by Nietzsche within the philosopher's life of writing Like no other book on the subject, Nietzsche's Dawn: Philosophy, Ethics, and the Passion of Knowledge is a must-read for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, instructors, and scholars in philosophy, as well as general readers with interest in Nietzsche, particularly his middle writings.
Philosophy is a discipline committed to helping us live wiser and less sorrowful lives. This book artfully draws together forty of the greatest and most useful ideas found in philosophy, taking us on a journey around key concepts from both Eastern and Western cultures. We are invited to sample the distinctive wisdom of Eastern philosophy via tea drinking ceremonies, walks in bamboo forests, contemplations of rivers and ritualised flower arranging sessions. From Western culture we seek the teachings of some of the greatest minds throughout history including Machiavellianism and Stoicism. This essential guide to philosophy reminds us of the wit, humanity and relevance of a number of great philosophers including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Buddha. Essential thoughts about love, work, anxiety, self-knowledge and happiness are examined, highlighted and inspiringly presented here so they can work their consoling effect where it is most needed: in our daily lives.
What should our buildings look like? Or is their usability more important than their appearance? Paul Guyer argues that the fundamental goals of architecture first identified by the Roman architect Marcus Pollio Vitruvius - good construction, functionality, and aesthetic appeal - have remained valid despite constant changes in human activities, building materials and technologies, as well as in artistic styles and cultures. Guyer discusses philosophers and architects throughout history, including Alberti, Kant, Ruskin, Wright, and Loos, and surveys the ways in which their ideas are brought to life in buildings across the world. He also considers the works and words of contemporary architects including Annabelle Selldorf, Herzog and de Meuron, and Steven Holl, and shows that - despite changing times and fashions - good architecture continues to be something worth striving for. This new series offers short and personal perspectives by expert thinkers on topics that we all encounter in our everyday lives.
Plato's Republic is one of the most well-known and widely discussed texts in the history of philosophy, but how might we get to the heart of this work today, 2500 years after it was originally composed? Alain Badiou invents a new genre in order to breathe fresh life into Plato's text and restore its universality. Rather than producing yet another critical commentary, he has retranslated the work from the original Greek and, by making various changes, adapted it for our times. In this innovative reimagining of a classic text, Badiou has removed all references specific to ancient Greek society, from the endless exchanges about the moral courage of poets to those political considerations that were only of interest to the aristocratic elite. On the other hand, Badiou has expanded the range of cultural references: here philosophy is firing on all cylinders, and Socrates and his companions are joined by Beckett, Pessoa, Freud and Hegel. They demonstrate the enduring nature of true philosophy, always ready to move with the times. Moreover, Badiou the dramatist has made the Socratic dialogue a true oratorial contest: in his version of the Republic, the interlocutors have more in mind than merely agreeing with the Master. They stand up to him, put him on the spot and thereby show thought in motion. Through this work of writing, scholarship and philosophy, we are able, for the first time, to read a version of Plato's text which is alive, stimulating and directly relevant to our world today.
The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works . A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography.
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.
How ancient skepticism can help you attain tranquility by learning to suspend judgment Along with Stoicism and Epicureanism, Skepticism is one of the three major schools of ancient Greek philosophy that claim to offer a way of living as well as thinking. How to Keep an Open Mind provides an unmatched introduction to skepticism by presenting a fresh, modern translation of key passages from the writings of Sextus Empiricus, the only Greek skeptic whose works have survived. While content in daily life to go along with things as they appear to be, Sextus advocated-and provided a set of techniques to achieve-a radical suspension of judgment about the way things really are, believing that such nonjudging can be useful for challenging the unfounded dogmatism of others and may help one achieve a state of calm and tranquility. In an introduction, Richard Bett makes the case that the most important lesson we can draw from Sextus's brand of skepticism today may be an ability to see what can be said on the other side of any issue, leading to a greater open-mindedness. Complete with the original Greek on facing pages, How to Keep an Open Mind offers a compelling antidote to the closed-minded dogmatism of today's polarized world.
This concise anthology of primary sources designed for use in an ancient philosophy survey ranges from the Presocratics to Plato, Aristotle, the Hellenistic philosophers, and the Neoplatonists. The Second Edition features an amplified selection of Presocratic fragments in newly revised translations by Richard D. McKirahan. Also included is an expansion of the Hellenistic unit, featuring new selections from Lucretius and Sextus Empiricus as well as a new translation, by Peter J. Anderson, of most of Seneca's De Providentia . The selections from Plotinus have also been expanded.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Albert Schweitzer was one of the best-known figures on the world stage. Courted by monarchs, world statesmen, and distinguished figures from the literary, musical, and scientific fields, Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952, cementing his place as one of the great intellectual leaders of his time. Schweitzer is less well known now but nonetheless a man of perennial fascination, and this volume seeks to bring his achievements across a variety of areas-philosophy, theology, and medicine-into sharper focus. To that end, international scholars from diverse disciplines offer a wideranging examination of Schweitzer's life and thought over the course of forty years. Albert Schweitzer in Thought and Action gives readers a fuller, richer, and more nuanced picture of this controversial but monumental figure of twentieth-century life-and, in some measure, of that complex century itself.
Around the middle of the eighteenth century, the leading figures of the French Enlightenment engaged in a philosophical debate about the nature of music. The principal participants-Rousseau, Diderot, and d'Alembert-were responding to the views of the composer-theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau, who was both a participant and increasingly a subject of controversy. The discussion centered upon three different events occurring roughly simultaneously. The first was Rameau's formulation of the principle of the fundamental bass, which explained the structure of chords and their progression. The second was the writing of the Encyclopedie, edited by Diderot and d'Alembert, with articles on music by Rousseau. The third was the "Querelle des Bouffons," over the relative merits of Italian comic opera and French tragic opera. The philosophes, in the typical manner of Enlightenment thinkers, were able to move freely from the broad issues of philosophy and criticism, to the more technical questions of music theory, considering music as both art and science. Their dialogue was one of extraordinary depth and richness and dealt with some of the most fundamental issues of the French Enlightenment. In the newly revised edition of Music and the French Enlightenment, Cynthia Verba updates this fascinating story with the prolific scholarship that has emerged since the book was first published. Stressing the importance of seeing the philosophes' writings in context of a dynamic dialogue, Verba carefully reconstructs the chain of arguments and rebuttals across which Rousseau, D'Alembert, and Diderot formulated their own evolving positions. A section of key passages in translation presents several texts in English for the first time, recapturing the tenor and tone of the dialogue at hand. In a new epilogue, Verba discusses important trends in new scholarship, tracing how scholars continue to grapple with many of the same fundamental oppositions and competing ideas that were debated by the philosophes in the French Enlightenment.
Kierkegaard and Christian Faith responds directly to the perennial and problematic concern of how to read Kierkegaard. Specifically, this volume presses the question of whether the existentialist philosopher, who so troubled the waters of nineteenth-century Danish Christendom, is a "Christian thinker for our time." The chapters crisscross the disciplines of philosophy, theology, literature, and ethics, and are as rich in argument as they are diverse in style. Collectively the chapters demonstrate a principled agreement that Kierkegaard continues to be relevant, even imperative. Kierkegaard and Christian Faith reveals just how Kierkegaard's work both defines and reconfigures what is meant by "Christian thinker." Following an autobiographical prologue by Kathleen Norris, this volume gathers the chapters in pairs around crucial themes: the use of philosophy (Merold Westphal and C. Stephen Evans), revelation and authority (Richard Bauckham and Paul J. Griffiths), Christian character (Sylvia Walsh and Ralph C. Wood), the relationship between the church and the world (Jennifer A. Herdt and Paul Martens), and moral questions of forgiveness and love (Simon D. Podmore and Cyril O'Regan). The volume underscores the centrality of Christianity to Kierkegaard's life and thought, and rightly positions Kierkegaard as a profound challenge to Christianity as it is understood and practiced today.
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