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What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? Yuval Noah Harari challenges everything we know about being human in the perfect read for these unprecedented times.
Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it: us.
In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.
‘I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species’ Bill Gates
‘Interesting and provocative… It gives you a sense of how briefly we’ve been on this Earth’ Barack Obama
Sapiens showed us where we came from. In uncertain times, Homo Deus shows us where we’re going.
Yuval Noah Harari envisions a near future in which we face a new set of challenges. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century and beyond – from overcoming death to creating artificial life.
It asks the fundamental questions: how can we protect this fragile world from our own destructive power? And what does our future hold?
'Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. It will make you think in ways you had not thought before’ Daniel Kahneman, bestselling author of Thinking, Fast and Slow
The stories we tell about our past matter. But those stories have been shaped by prejudice, hoaxes and misinterpretations that have whitewashed entire chapters of history, erased women and invented civilisations. Today history is often used to justify xenophobia, nationalism and inequality as we cling to grand origin stories and heroic tales of extraordinary men. Exploring myths, mysteries and misconceptions about the past - from the legacies of figures like Pythagoras and Christopher Columbus, to the realities of life in the gun-toting Wild West, to the archaeological digs that have upset our understanding of the birth of civilisation - David Mountain reveals how ongoing revolutions in history and archaeology are shedding light on the truth. Full of adventures, and based on detailed research and interviews, Past Mistakes will make you reconsider your understanding of history - and of the world today. From the fall of Rome to the rise of the Wild West, David Mountain brings colour and perspective to historical mythmaking.
A groundbreaking biography of Milton's formative years that provides a new account of the poet's political radicalization John Milton (1608-1674) has a unique claim on literary and intellectual history as the author of both Paradise Lost, the greatest narrative poem in English, and prose defences of the execution of Charles I that influenced the French and American revolutions. Tracing Milton's literary, intellectual, and political development with unprecedented depth and understanding, Poet of Revolution is an unmatched biographical account of the formation of the mind that would go on to create Paradise Lost-but would first justify the killing of a king. Biographers of Milton have always struggled to explain how the young poet became a notorious defender of regicide and other radical ideas such as freedom of the press, religious toleration, and republicanism. In this groundbreaking intellectual biography of Milton's formative years, Nicholas McDowell draws on recent archival discoveries to reconcile at last the poet and polemicist. He charts Milton's development from his earliest days as a London schoolboy, through his university life and travels in Italy, to his emergence as a public writer during the English Civil War. At the same time, McDowell presents fresh, richly contextual readings of Milton's best-known works from this period, including the "Nativity Ode," "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," Comus, and "Lycidas." Challenging biographers who claim that Milton was always a secret radical, Poet of Revolution shows how the events that provoked civil war in England combined with Milton's astonishing programme of self-education to instil the beliefs that would shape not only his political prose but also his later epic masterpiece.
A chronological survey of the world's most influential books. Many books have become classics, must-reads or overnight publishing sensations, but how many can genuinely claim to have changed the way we see and think? In 100 Books that Changed the World, prize-winning author Scott Christianson brings together an exceptional collection of truly groundbreaking books - from scriptures that founded religions, to scientific treatises that challenged beliefs, to novels that kick-started literary genres. This elegantly designed book offers a sweeping, chronological survey of the most important books from around the globe, from the earliest illuminated manuscripts to the age of the ebook publication. Entries include: Iliad and Odyssey, Homer (750 BC), Gutenberg Bible (1450s), The Qur'an (AD 609-632), On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Nicolaus Copernicus (1543), Shakespeare's First Folio (1623), Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Isaac Newton (1687), Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (1755), The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (1776), The Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft (1792), The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848), Roget's Thesaurus (1852), On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin (1859), The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud (1899), Lady Chatterley's Lover, D.H. Lawrence (1928), The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (1947), Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (1964), A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (1988)
From the author of Wittgenstein's Poker and Would You Kill the Fat Man?, the story of an extraordinary group of philosophers during a dark chapter in Europe's history On June 22, 1936, the philosopher Moritz Schlick was on his way to deliver a lecture at the University of Vienna when Johann Nelboeck, a deranged former student of Schlick's, shot him dead on the university steps. Some Austrian newspapers defended the madman, while Nelboeck himself argued in court that his onetime teacher had promoted a treacherous Jewish philosophy. David Edmonds traces the rise and fall of the Vienna Circle-an influential group of brilliant thinkers led by Schlick-and of a philosophical movement that sought to do away with metaphysics and pseudoscience in a city darkened by fascism, anti-Semitism, and unreason. The Vienna Circle's members included Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, and the eccentric logician Kurt Goedel. On its fringes were two other philosophical titans of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper. The Circle championed the philosophy of logical empiricism, which held that only two types of propositions have cognitive meaning, those that can be verified through experience and those that are analytically true. For a time, it was the most fashionable movement in philosophy. Yet by the outbreak of World War II, Schlick's group had disbanded and almost all its members had fled. Edmonds reveals why the Austro-fascists and the Nazis saw their philosophy as such a threat. The Murder of Professor Schlick paints an unforgettable portrait of the Vienna Circle and its members while weaving an enthralling narrative set against the backdrop of economic catastrophe and rising extremism in Hitler's Europe.
The Sunday Times Bestseller
We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn't be this way.
Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization - from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy - was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.
This guide to a revolutionary yet achievable utopia is supported by multiple studies, lively anecdotes and numerous success stories. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he introduces ideas whose time has come.
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.
'Melvyn not only makes you think ... he makes it enjoyable too. He's brilliant.' - John Humphrys, the Today Programme. 'In a troubled world where many sneer at experts, In Our Time is always a treat. Those who know what they're talking about, talk about it, and they do it under the benevolent if occasionally testy guidance of one who knows how to bring out the best in them. Listen, read, mark, and inwardly digest; agreeable glass of accompanying refreshment optional.' - Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch 'This beautifully produced and expertly edited book is a wonderfully rich and varied sample of 50 In Our Time programmes, from ancient Greek philosophy to dark matter via the gin craze. It will whet your appetite to visit or revisit the many hundreds of other programmes in this remarkable series.' - Professor Angela Hobbs 'Bragg gives short shrift to pretension of any kind, while remaining stalwart in his search for knowledge. His methodology in In Our Time is... not unlike that of a man throwing a stick at a dog: he chucks his questions ahead, and if the chosen academic fails to bring it right back, he chides them. He retains enough of his bluff Cumbrian origins not to be taken in by gambolling and tweedy high spirits.' - Will Self, from a February 2010 issue of London Review of Books In Our Time has been the cornerstone of broadcasting every Thursday morning on BBC Radio 4 for the past twenty years, with over 800 episodes since its launch in October 1998. Presented by one of Britain's greatest champions of the arts, Melvyn Bragg, the show explores ideas across history, religion, philosophy, science and culture. With a vast array of contributors from the world of academia, such as Mary Beard, Angie Hobbs and Diarmaid MacCulloch, it is one of Radio 4's most successful programmes, attracting a weekly live audience exceeding 2 million listeners, and, per episode, it is one of the world's most downloaded podcasts. To honour this major anniversary of BBC broadcasting, this beautifully illustrated book provides a lively and colourful guide to fifty of the most captivating discussions from the past two decades of In Our Time, as chosen by Melvyn and the producer Simon Tillotson, and, influenced by listeners who have recommended their favourite programmes from those years. Highlights include 'Romulus and Remus', 'The Death of Elizabeth I', 'Ada Lovelace', 'The Gin Craze', the 'Epic of Gilgamesh' and 'The Salem Witch Trials', and there are additional behind-the-scenes insights, peppered with Melvyn Bragg's remarks both on and off air. This is a captivating gift for all fans and a celebration of this iconic series.
"The Origins and History of Consciousness" draws on a full range of world mythology to show how individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as human consciousness as a whole. Erich Neumann was one of C. G. Jung's most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right. In this influential book, Neumann shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, the tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence, the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.
Featuring a foreword by Jung, this Princeton Classics edition introduces a new generation of readers to this eloquent and enduring work.
Democracy is either aspired to as a goal or cherished as a birthright by billions of people throughout the world today - and has been been for over a century. But what does it mean? And how has its meaning changed since it was first coined in ancient Greece? Democracy: A Life is a biography of the concept, looking at its many different manifestations and showing how it has changed over its long life, from ancient times right through to the present. For instance, how did the 'people power' of the Athenians emerge in the first place? Once it had emerged, what enabled it to survive? And how did the Athenian version of democracy differ from the many other forms that developed among the myriad cities of the Greek world? Paul Cartledge answers all these questions and more, following the development of ancient political thinking about democracy from the sixth century BC onwards, not least the many arguments that were advanced against it over the centuries. As Cartledge shows, after a golden age in the fourth century BC, there was a long, slow degradation of the original Greek conception and practice of democracy, from the Hellenistic era, through late Republican and early Imperial Rome, down to early Byzantium in the sixth century CE. For many centuries after that, from late Antiquity, through the Middle Ages, to the Renaissance, democracy was effectively eclipsed by other forms of government, in both theory and practice. But as we know, this was by no means the end of the story. For democracy was eventually to enjoy a re-florescence, over two thousand years after its first flowering in the ancient world: initially revived in seventeenth-century England, it was to undergo a further renaissance in the revolutionary climate of late-eighteenth-century North America and France - and has been constantly reconstituted and reinvented ever since.
Quantum physicist, New York Times bestselling author, and BBC host Jim Al-Khalili offers a fascinating and illuminating look at what physics reveals about the world Shining a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics, Jim Al-Khalili invites us all to understand what this crucially important science tells us about the universe and the nature of reality itself. Al-Khalili begins by introducing the fundamental concepts of space, time, energy, and matter, and then describes the three pillars of modern physics-quantum theory, relativity, and thermodynamics-showing how all three must come together if we are ever to have a full understanding of reality. Using wonderful examples and thought-provoking analogies, Al-Khalili illuminates the physics of the extreme cosmic and quantum scales, the speculative frontiers of the field, and the physics that underpins our everyday experiences and technologies, bringing the reader up to speed with the biggest ideas in physics in just a few sittings. Physics is revealed as an intrepid human quest for ever more foundational principles that accurately explain the natural world we see around us, an undertaking guided by core values such as honesty and doubt. The knowledge discovered by physics both empowers and humbles us, and still, physics continues to delve valiantly into the unknown. Making even the most enigmatic scientific ideas accessible and captivating, this deeply insightful book illuminates why physics matters to everyone and calls one and all to share in the profound adventure of seeking truth in the world around us.
In Moral Conscience through the Ages, Richard Sorabji brings his erudition and philosophical acumen to bear on a fundamental question: what is conscience? Examining the ways we have conceived of that little voice in our heads - our self-directed judge - he teases out its most enduring elements, the aspects that have survived from the Greek playwrights in the fifth century BCE through St Paul, the Church Fathers, Catholics and Protestants, all the way to the 17th centurys political unrest and the critics and champions of the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. Sorabji traces a history of conscience over this long period and examines an impressive breadth of recurrent topics: the longing for different kinds of freedom of conscience, the proper limits of freedom itself, protests at consciences being terrorized, dilemmas of conscience, the value of conscience to human beings, its secularization, its reliability, and ways to improve it. These historical issues are alive today, with fresh concerns about topics such as conscientious objection, the force of conscience, or the balance between freedoms of conscience, religion, and speech. The result is a stunningly comprehensive look at a central component of our moral understanding.
"The Mind of a Patriot" presents an intellectual life of a major figure who has traditionally been seen as an anti-intellectual "child of nature." This was the view of Patrick Henry that William Wirt presented in his "Life of Henry, " and it has pervaded every biography since. Hayes presents a very different view of Henry. Starting with neglected pieces of evidence-the inventory of Henry's library-Hayes's unique perspective allows him to position Henry's life within the intellectual currents of the day. After the opening chapter, which shows how Thomas Jefferson's opinions of Henry influenced Wirt's depiction of him, the author traces Henry's life through his relationship with the world of books. Individual chapters examine Henry's education; his legal career; his use of books to improve his speaking style; his relationship to the antislavery movement; his use of books as a legislator, a farmer, and a father; and, ultimately, the place of books in his life during his waning years. In a lengthy appendix, Hayes reconstructs Henry's library, presenting a detailed catalogue of its contents.
A comprehensive and authoritative anthology of Rousseau's important early political writings in faithful English translations. This volume includes the Discourse on the Sciences and Arts and the Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality among Men - the so-called First and Second Discourses - together with Rousseau's extensive Replies to critics of these Discourses; the Essay on the Origin of Languages; the Letter to Voltaire on Providence; as well as several minor but illuminating writings - the Discourse on Heroic Virtue and the essay Idea of the Method in the Composition of a Book. In these as well as in his later writings, Rousseau probes the very premises of modern thought. His influence was wide-reaching from the very first, and it has continued to grow since his death. The American and the French Revolutions were profoundly affected by his thought, as were Romanticism and Idealism. This new edition features up-to-date translations, an expanded introduction, and an extensive editorial apparatus designed to assist students at every level access these seminal texts.
In our troubled world, looking back to ancient wisdom can shed light on fresh solutions. For years, many of us have upheld the Stoic belief in 'no pain, no gain.' But when the pace of modern life and the demands of jobs and family overwhelm us, punishing exercise regimes, productivity apps and early morning starts may not be the best solution. According to the pleasure-centric philosophy of Epicureanism, life can be good without great sacrifice. By consciously practicing 'choice and avoidance' - by being strategic about our recreational, professional and familial pursuits - we can live with less fear and regret. By understanding our place in a world that came about by chance, we can gain greater perspective on our role within it and where our priorities should lie. No honest philosopher can give you a formula for happiness, but in The Pleasure Principle, Professor Catherine Wilson explores how Epicureanism can provide a framework for thinking about life's key issues, including family, death, politics, religion, wealth, science, and love.
In this lucide guide to the often abstruse works of Claude Levi-Strauss, Edmund Leach synthesizes the thought of one of the twentieth century's greatest anthropologists and provides a thoughtful introduction to the theory and practice of structuralism. Leach organizes his work not by chronology but by theme, exploring three important topics in Levi-Strauss's work: human beings and their symbols, the structure of myth, and kinship theory. Written concisely and with great care and penetration, this brief book is both a fine introduction for the uninitiated reader of Levi-Strauss and a critical analysis that will prove valuable to those more familiar with the anthropologist's work.
It seems quite natural to explain the activities of human and non-human animals by referring to their special faculties. Thus, we say that dogs can smell things in their environment because they have perceptual faculties, or that human beings can think because they have rational faculties. But what are faculties? In what sense are they responsible for a wide range of activities? How can they be individuated? How are they interrelated? And why are different types of faculties assigned to different types of living beings? The six chapters in this book discuss these questions, covering a wide period from Plato up to contemporary debates about faculties as modules of the mind. They show that faculties were referred to in different theoretical contexts, but analyzed in radically different ways. Some philosophers, especially Aristotelians, made them the cornerstone of their biological and psychological theories, taking them to be basic powers of living beings. Others took them to be inner causes that literally produce activities, while still others provided a purely functional explanation. The chapters focus on various models, taking into account Greek, Arabic, Latin, French, German and Anglo-American debates. They analyze the role assigned to faculties in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and epistemology, but also the attack that was often launched against the assumption that faculties are hidden yet real features of living beings. The short "Reflections" inserted between the chapters make clear that faculties were also widely discussed in literature, science and medicine.
The first systematic analysis of the arguments made against human rights from the French Revolution to the present day. Through the writings of Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, Auguste Comte, Louis de Bonald, Joseph de Maistre, Karl Marx, Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt, the authors explore the divergences and convergences between these 'classical' arguments against human rights and the contemporary critiques made both in Anglo-American and French political philosophy. Human Rights on Trial is unique in its marriage of history of ideas with normative theory, and its integration of British/North American and continental debates on human rights. It offers a powerful rebuttal of the dominant belief in a sharp division between human rights today and the rights of man proclaimed at the end of the eighteenth century. It also offers a strong framework for a democratic defence of human rights.
The idea that we are mutually dependent on the recognition of our peers is at least as old as modernity. Across Europe, this idea has been understood in different ways from the very beginning, according to each country's different cultural and political conditions. This stimulating study explores the complex history and multiple associations of the idea of 'Recognition' in Britain, France and Germany. Demonstrating the role of 'recognition' in the production of important political ideas, Axel Honneth explores how our dependence on the recognition of others is sometimes viewed as the source of all modern, egalitarian morality, sometimes as a means for fostering socially beneficial behavior, and sometimes as a threat to 'true' individuality. By exploring this fundamental concept in our modern political and social self-understanding, Honneth thus offers an alternative view of the philosophical discourse of modernity.
A comprehensive and authoritative anthology of Rousseau's major later political writings in up-to-date English translations. This volume includes the essay on Political Economy, The Social Contract, and the extensive, late Considerations on the Government of Poland, as well as the important draft on The Right of War and a selection of his letters on various aspects of his political thought. The Social Contract, Rousseau's most comprehensive political work - he called it a 'small treatise' - was condemned on publication by both the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities in France as well as in Geneva, and warrants for its author's arrest were issued. Rousseau was forced to flee and it is during this period that he wrote some of his autobiographical works. This new edition features an expanded introduction, and an extensive editorial apparatus designed to assist students at every level access these seminal texts.
This is a book about a poet, about a poem, about a city, and about a world at a point of change. More than a work of literary criticism or literary biography, it is a record of why and how we create and respond to great poetry. This is a book about a poet - W. H. Auden, a wunderkind, a victim-beneficiary of a literary cult of personality who became a scapegoat and a poet-expatriate largely excluded from British literary history because he left. About a poem - 'September 1, 1939', his most famous and celebrated, yet one which he tried to rewrite and disown and which has enjoyed - or been condemned - to a tragic and unexpected afterlife. About a city - New York, an island, an emblem of the Future, magnificent, provisional, seamy, and in 1939 about to emerge as the defining twentieth-century cosmopolis, the capital of the world. And about a world at a point of change - about 1939, and about our own Age of Anxiety, about the aftermath of September 11, when many American newspapers reprinted Auden's poem in its entirety on their editorial pages.
Convergence is a history of modern science with an original and significant twist. Various scientific disciplines, despite their very different beginnings, and disparate areas of interest have been coming together over the past 150 years, converging and coalescing, to identify one extraordinary master narrative, one overwhelming interlocking coherent story: the history of the universe. Intimate connections between physics and chemistry have been revealed as have the links between quantum chemistry and molecular biology. Astronomy has been augmented by particle physics, psychology has been increasingly aligned with physics, with chemistry and even with economics. Genetics has been harmonised with linguistics, botany with archaeology, climatology with myth. This is a simple insight but one with profound consequences. Convergence is, as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg has put it, `The deepest thing about the universe.' This book does not, however, tell the story by beginning at the beginning and ending at the end. It is much more revealing, more convincing, and altogether more thrilling to tell the story as it emerged, as it began to fall into place, piece by piece, converging tentatively at first, but then with increasing speed, vigour and confidence. The overlaps and interdependence of the sciences, the emerging order that they are gradually uncovering, is without question the most enthralling aspect of twenty-first-century science.
An engaging look at the aphorism, the shortest literary form, across time, languages, and cultures Aphorisms-or short philosophical sayings-appear everywhere, from Confucius to Twitter, the Buddha to the Bible, Heraclitus to Nietzsche. Yet despite this ubiquity, the aphorism is the least studied literary form. What are its origins? How did it develop? Were the enigmatic sayings of charismatic sages the original "social media"? And why do some of our most celebrated modern philosophers use aphoristic fragments to convey their deepest ideas? In A Theory of the Aphorism, Andrew Hui crisscrosses histories and cultures to answer these questions and more. Encompassing literature, philology, and philosophy, A Theory of the Aphorism invites us to reflect anew on the meaning of this pithiest of literary forms.
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