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Invaluable wisdom on living a good life from the founder of modern economics Adam Smith is best known today as the founder of modern economics, but he was also an uncommonly brilliant philosopher who was especially interested in the perennial question of how to live a good life. Our Great Purpose is a short and illuminating guide to Smith's incomparable wisdom on how to live well, written by one of today's leading Smith scholars. In this inspiring and entertaining book, Ryan Patrick Hanley describes Smith's vision of "the excellent and praiseworthy character," and draws on the philosopher's writings to show how each of us can go about developing one. For Smith, an excellent character is distinguished by qualities such as prudence, self-command, justice, and benevolence-virtues that have been extolled since antiquity. Yet Smith wrote not for the ancient polis but for the world of market society-our world-which rewards self-interest more than virtue. Hanley shows how Smith set forth a vision of the worthy life that is uniquely suited to us today. Full of invaluable insights on topics ranging from happiness and moderation to love and friendship, Our Great Purpose enables modern readers to see Smith in an entirely new light-and along the way, learn what it truly means to live a good life.
Political philosophy seems both impossible to do and impossible to avoid. Impossible to do, because we cannot agree on a single set of political principles. Impossible to avoid, because we're always living with some kind of political system, and thus some set of principles. So, if we can't do the philosophy, but can't escape the politics, what are we to do? Jonathan Floyd argues that the answer lies in political philosophy's deepest methodological commitments. First, he shows how political philosophy is practiced as a kind of 'thinking about thinking'. Second, he unpicks the different types of thought we think about, such as considered judgements, or intuitive responses to moral dilemmas, and assesses whether any are fit for purpose. Third, he offers an alternative approach - 'normative behaviourism' - which holds that rather than studying our thinking, we should study our behaviour. Perhaps, just sometimes, actions speak louder than thoughts.
'I'm 79 years old. So why on earth should I concern myself with speaking about youth?' This is the question with which renowned French philosopher Alain Badiou begins his passionate plea to the young. Today young people, at least in the West, are on the brink of a new world. With the decline of old traditions, they now face more choices than ever before. Yet powerful forces are pushing them in dangerous directions, into the vortex of consumerism or into reactive forms of traditionalism. This is a time when young people must be particularly attentive to the signs of the new and have the courage to venture forth and find out what they're capable of, without being constrained by the old prejudices and hierarchical ideas of the past. And if the aim of philosophy is to corrupt youth, as Socrates was accused of doing, this can mean only one thing: to help young people see that they don't have to go down the paths already mapped out for them, that they are not just condemned to obey social customs, that they can create something new and propose a different direction as regards the true life.
Leviathan and the Air-Pump examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of the political treatise Leviathan and vehement critic of systematic experimentation in natural philosophy, and Robert Boyle, mechanical philosopher and owner of the newly invented air-pump. The issues at stake in their disputes ranged from the physical integrity of the air-pump to the intellectual integrity of the knowledge it might yield. Both Boyle and Hobbes were looking for ways of establishing knowledge that did not decay into ad hominem attacks and political division. Boyle proposed the experiment as cure. He argued that facts should be manufactured by machines like the air-pump so that gentlemen could witness the experiments and produce knowledge that everyone agreed on. Hobbes, by contrast, looked for natural law and viewed experiments as the artificial, unreliable products of an exclusive guild. The new approaches taken in Leviathan and the Air-Pump have been enormously influential on historical studies of science. Shapin and Schaffer found a moment of scientific revolution and showed how key scientific givens--facts, interpretations, experiment, truth--were fundamental to a new political order. Shapin and Schaffer were also innovative in their ethnographic approach. Attempting to understand the work habits, rituals, and social structures of a remote, unfamiliar group, they argued that politics were tied up in what scientists did, rather than what they said. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer use the confrontation between Hobbes and Boyle as a way of understanding what was at stake in the early history of scientific experimentation. They describe the protagonists' divergent views of natural knowledge, and situate the Hobbes-Boyle disputes within contemporary debates over the role of intellectuals in public life and the problems of social order and assent in Restoration England. In a new introduction, the authors describe how science and its social context were understood when this book was first published, and how the study of the history of science has changed since then.
Throughout history scepticism and the urge to question accepted truths has been a powerful force for change and growth. Today, as we are bombarded by adverts, scientific studies praising the latest superfoods, and political rhetoric, a healthy amount of scepticism is widely encouraged. But when is such scepticism legitimate - for example, as a driver of new ideas - and when is it problematic? And what role might adopting a sceptical outlook play in leading an intellectually virtuous life? In this Very Short Introduction Duncan Pritchard explores both the advantages of scepticism, in challenging outdated notions, and also how it can have unhelpful social consequences, in generating distrust. He considers the role of scepticism at the source of contemporary social and political movements such as climate change denial, post-truth politics, and fake news. Pritchard also examines the philosophical arguments for a radical form of scepticism which maintains that knowledge is impossible, and explores some of the main responses to these arguments. Finally, he considers the part scepticism might play in applying better thinking and learning to achieve a more meaningful life. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Should we believe in God? In this new book, written for a new generation, the brilliant science writer and author of The God Delusion, explains why we shouldn’t.
Should we believe in God? Do we need God in order to explain the existence of the universe? Do we need God in order to be good? In twelve chapters that address some of the most profound questions human beings confront, Dawkins marshals science, philosophy and comparative religion to interrogate the hypocrisies of all the religious systems and explain to readers of all ages how life emerged without a Creator, how evolution works and how our world came into being.
For anyone hoping to grapple with the meaning of life and what to believe, Outgrowing God is a challenging, thrilling and revelatory read.
When is it permissible to move an issue out of normal politics and treat it as a security issue? How should the security measures be conducted? When and how should the securitization be reversed? Floyd offers answers to these questions by combining security studies' influential securitization theory with philosophy's long-standing just war tradition, creating a major new approach to the ethics of security: 'Just Securitization Theory'. Of interest to anyone concerned with ethics and security, Floyd's innovative approach enables scholars to normatively evaluate past and present securitizations, equips practitioners to make informed judgements on what they ought to do in relevant situations, and empowers the public to hold relevant actors accountable for how they view security.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is one of the most controversial philosophers of the eighteenth century, and his groundbreaking work still provokes heated debate in contemporary political theory. In this book, Celine Spector, one of the world's foremost experts on Rousseau's thought, provides an accessible introduction to his moral, social and political theory. She explores the themes and central concepts of his thought, ranging from the state of nature, the social contract and the general will to natural and political freedom, religion and education. She combines a skilful exposition of Rousseau as a 'man of paradoxes' with a discussion of his often-overlooked ideas on knowledge, political economy and international relations. The book traces both the overall unity and the significant changes in Rousseau's philosophy, accounting for its complexity and for the importance of its legacy. It will be essential reading for scholars, students and general readers interested in the Enlightenment and more broadly in the history of modern political thought and philosophy.
First published in 1991, Richard M. Gale's classic book is a response to and critique of new, contemporary arguments for the existence of God from analytical philosophers. Considering concepts including time, free will, personhood, actuality and the objectivity of experience, Gale evaluates the new versions of cosmological, ontological, pragmatic and religious experience arguments that emerged in the late-twentieth century. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by Paul K. Moser, illuminating its enduring importance and relevance to philosophical enquiry, this influential work has been revived for a new generation of readers.
The philosophical tradition has given rise to many competing moral theories. Virtue ethics encourages the flourishing of the person, theories of justice and rights tell us to act according to principles, and consequentialist theories advise that we seek to bring about good ends. These varied theories highlight the morally relevant features of the problems that we encounter both in everyday personal interactions and on a broader social scale. When used together, they allow us to address moral conflicts by balancing a plurality of reasons in order to reach nuanced ethical decisions. In Ethical Reasoning: Theory and Application, Andrew Kernohan guides the reader through the basics of these moral theories, showing their strengths and weaknesses and emphasizing the ways in which competing moral reasons can be collectively employed to guide decision-making. Throughout, the focus is on practical applications and on how each theory can play a role in solving problems and addressing issues. Numerous questions and exercises are provided to encourage active reflection and retention of information.
Ontological arguments are one of the main classes of arguments for the existence of God, and have been influential from the Middle Ages right up until the present time. This accessible volume offers a comprehensive survey and assessment of them, starting with a sequence of chapters charting their history - from Anselm and Aquinas, via Descartes, Leibniz, Kant and Hegel, to Goedel, Plantinga, Lewis and Tichy. This is followed by chapters on the most important topics to have emerged in the discussion of ontological arguments: the relationship between conceivability and possibility, the charge that ontological arguments beg the question, and the nature of existence. The volume as a whole shows clearly how these arguments emerged and developed, how we should think about them, and why they remain important today.
How can we bring people together? Sociologist and best-selling author Eric Klinenberg introduces a transformative and powerfully uplifting new idea for health, happiness, safety and healing our divided, unequal society. 'This wonderful book shows us how democracies thrive' Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, authors of How Democracies Die Too often we take for granted and neglect our libraries, parks, markets, schools, playgrounds, gardens and communal spaces, but decades of research now shows that these places can have an extraordinary effect on our personal and collective wellbeing. Why? Because wherever people cross paths and linger, wherever we gather informally, strike up a conversation and get to know one another, relationships blossom and communities emerge - and where communities are strong, people are safer and healthier, crime drops and commerce thrives, and peace, tolerance and stability take root. Through uplifting human stories and an illuminating tour through the science of social connection, Palaces for the People shows that properly designing and maintaining this 'social infrastructure' might be our single best strategy for a more equal and united society.
When philosophers try to understand the nature of knowledge, they have to confront the Gettier problem. This problem, set out in Edmund Gettier's famous paper of 1963, has yet to be solved, and has challenged our best attempts to define what knowledge is. This volume offers an organised sequence of accessible and distinctive chapters explaining the history of debate surrounding Gettier's challenge, and where that debate should take us next. The chapters describe and evaluate a wide range of ideas about knowledge that have been sparked by philosophical engagements with the Gettier problem, including such phenomena as fallibility, reasoning, evidence, reliability, truth-tracking, context, luck, intellectual virtue, wisdom, conceptual analysis, intuition, experimental philosophy, and explication. The result is an authoritative survey of fifty-plus years of epistemological research - along with provocative ideas for future research - into the nature of knowledge.
A superb new edition of Epictetus's famed handbook on Stoicism-translated by one of the world's leading authorities on Stoic philosophy Born a slave, the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus (c. 55-135 AD) taught that mental freedom is supreme, since it can liberate one anywhere, even in a prison. In How to Be Free, A. A. Long-one of the world's leading authorities on Stoicism and a pioneer in its remarkable contemporary revival-provides a superb new edition of Epictetus's celebrated guide to the Stoic philosophy of life (the Encheiridion) along with a selection of related reflections in his Discourses. Freedom, for Epictetus, is not a human right or a political prerogative but a psychological and ethical achievement, a gift that we alone can bestow on ourselves. We can all be free, but only if we learn to assign paramount value to what we can control (our motivations and reactions), treat what we cannot control with equanimity, and view our circumstances as opportunities to do well and be well, no matter what happens to us through misfortune or the actions of other people. How to Be Free features splendid new translations and the original Greek on facing pages, a compelling introduction that sets Epictetus in context and describes the importance of Stoic freedom today, and an invaluable glossary of key words and concepts. The result is an unmatched introduction to this powerful method of managing emotions and handling life's situations, from the most ordinary to the most demanding.
This book brings together philosophical approaches to cooperation and collective agency with research into human-machine interaction and cooperation from engineering, robotics, computer science and AI. Bringing these so far largely unrelated fields of study together leads to a better understanding of collective agency in natural and artificial systems and will help to improve the design and performance of hybrid systems involving human and artificial agents. Modeling collective agency with the help of computer simulations promises also philosophical insights into the emergence of collective agency. The volume consists of four sections. The first section is dedicated to the concept of agency. The second section of the book turns to human-machine cooperation. The focus of the third section is the transition from cooperation to collective agency. The last section concerns the explanatory value of social simulations of collective agency in the broader framework of cultural evolution.
Is rationality a well-defined human universal such that ideas and behaviour can everywhere be judged by a single set of criteria? Or are the rational and the irrational simply cultural constructs? This study provides an alternative to both options. The universalist thesis underestimates the variety found in sound human reasonings exemplified across time and space and often displays a marked Eurocentric bias. The extreme relativist faces the danger of concluding that we are all locked into mutually unintelligible universes. These problems are worse when certain concepts, often inherited from ancient Greek thought, especially binaries such as nature and culture, or the literal and the metaphorical, are not examined critically. Drawing on a variety of disciplines, from philosophy to cognitive science, this book explores what both ancient societies (Greece and China especially) and modern ones (as revealed by ethnography) can teach us concerning the heterogeneity of what can be called rational.
"How to Win an Election" is an ancient Roman guide for campaigning that is as up-to-date as tomorrow's headlines. In 64 BC when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign. What follows in his short letter are timeless bits of political wisdom, from the importance of promising everything to everybody and reminding voters about the sexual scandals of your opponents to being a chameleon, putting on a good show for the masses, and constantly surrounding yourself with rabid supporters. Presented here in a lively and colorful new translation, with the Latin text on facing pages, this unashamedly pragmatic primer on the humble art of personal politicking is dead-on (Cicero won)--and as relevant today as when it was written.
A little-known classic in the spirit of Machiavelli's "Prince, How to Win an Election" is required reading for politicians and everyone who enjoys watching them try to manipulate their way into office.
Where do the best ideas come from? And how do we apply these ideas to the problems we face - at work, in the education of our children, and in the biggest shared challenges of our age: rising obesity, terrorism and climate change? In this bold and inspiring new book, Matthew Syed - the bestselling author of Bounce and Black Box Thinking - argues that individual intelligence is no longer enough; that the only way to tackle these complex problems is to harness the power of our 'cognitive diversity'. Rebel Ideas is a fascinating journey through the science of team performance. It draws on psychology, economics, anthropology and genetics, and takes lessons from a dazzling range of case-studies, including the catastrophic intelligence failings of the CIA before 9/11, a communication breakdown at the top of Mount Everest, and a moving tale of deradicalization in America's deep South. It is book that will strengthen any company, institution or team, but it also offers many individual applications too: the remarkable benefits of personalised nutrition, advice on how to break free of the echo chambers that surround us, and tips on how we can all develop an 'outsider mindset'. Rebel Ideas offers a radical blueprint for creative problem-solving. It challenges hierarchies, encourages constructive dissent and forces us to think again about where the best ideas come from.
This volume celebrates the centenary of the birth of Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch. These four remarkable women were philosophical colleagues in Oxford in the 1940s, and their careers intertwined and overlapped henceforth. The papers in this book are all by prominent philosophers who spoke at the Royal Institute of Philosophy's annual lecture series from 2018-9. Together they cover the philosophical careers of Anscombe, Foot, Midgley and Murdoch, focusing on their thinking on morality, human nature and action and the place of humanity in the animal and natural world, all areas to which they made notable and distinctive contributions. Connexions are drawn to the thought of Wittgenstein, Aquinas and Aristotle. This book demonstrates the way these four philosophers individually and collectively changed the direction of philosophy in the English speaking world in the mid-twentieth-century and how they continue to influence it one hundred years after their birth.
In this important new book, the leading philosopher Francois Laruelle examines the role of intellectuals in our societies today, specifically with regards to criminal justice. He argues that, rather than concerning themselves with abstract philosophical notions like justice, truth and violence, intellectuals should focus on the human victims. Drawing on his influential theory of non-philosophy , he shows how we can submit the theorizing of intellectuals to the scrutiny of the everyday suffering of the victims of crime. In the course of a wide-ranging discussion with Philippe Petit, Laruelle suspends the presumed authority of intellectuals by challenging the image of the dominant intellectual exemplified by philosophers such as Sartre, Foucault, Lyotard and Debray. In place of domination, he puts forward instead a theory of determination : the determined intellectual is one whose character is conditioned by his relationship to the victim, rather than one who attempts to dominate the victim s experience through a process of theorizing. While philosophy consistently takes the voice away from victims of suffering, non-philosophy is able to construct a theory of violence and crime that gives voice to the victim. This highly original book will be essential reading for all those interested in contemporary French philosophy and all those concerned with justice in the modern world.
Establishes Lyotard as the most politically committed of contemporary sceptical thinkers Analyses Lyotard's key concepts in terms of their political implications Applies the 'little narrative' notion to current ideological struggles Analyses the role played by relativism in contemporary political thought, particularly Lyotard's sustained attempts to reconcile relativism with value judgement It is Jean Francois Lyotard's political focus that singles him out from his poststructuralist and postmodernist contemporaries. He is invariably 'thinking politics': finding ways of translating philosophical thought into a basis for political action. Stuart Sim explores how Lyotard's brand of pragmatism can provide a focus for political theory and action in our cultural climate, especially in light of the dramatic resurgence of right-wing extremism.
Socialism has made a dramatic comeback in the 21st century. In the wake of financial crisis, mounting inequality and social decay, it seems more relevant than ever. Nobody who seeks to understand contemporary politics can ignore it. In this book, leading scholar Peter Lamb identifies the key ideas and principles of socialism and explores different (often conflicting) interpretations that have appeared in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, from the early nineteenth century until today. He explores the different ways that socialist thinkers have conceptualised community, equality and liberty and shows how, despite overlap with other traditions, socialists have combined these ideas in common and distinct ways that make the socialist tradition uniquely valuable. Lamb goes on to trace the recent re-emergence of these ideas, and explain what will be required for such a revival to be popular, powerful and sustained. This book will be invaluable to any student or scholar interested in political theory, socialism, communism or political ideologies, as well as to general readers striving to understand contemporary politics throughout the world.
Stresses the importance of argumentation in everyday life Critical Thinking and Communication, 7/e, encourages students to develop skills in constructing and refuting arguments in contexts ranging from informal conversations to structured debates. The authors stress the importance of argumentation in everyday life while building student competence and critical awareness. Through exercises and examples, students learn to create arguments and develop, understand, and interpret extended cases.
Is the purpose of political philosophy to articulate the moral values that political regimes would realize in a virtually perfect world and show what that implies for the way we should behave toward one another? That model of political philosophy, driven by an effort to draw a picture of an ideal political society, is familiar from the approach of John Rawls and others. Or is political philosophy more useful if it takes the world as it is, acknowledging the existence of various morally non-ideal political realities, and asks how people can live together nonetheless? The latter approach is advocated by "realist" thinkers in contemporary political philosophy. In Value, Conflict, and Order, Edward Hall builds on the work of Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, and Bernard Williams in order to establish a political realist's theory of politics for the twenty-first century. The realist approach, Hall argues, helps us make sense of the nature of moral and political conflict, the ethics of compromising with adversaries and opponents, and the character of political legitimacy. In an era when democratic political systems all over the world are riven by conflict over values and interests, Hall's conception is bracing and timely.
The papers collected in this volume examine moral enhancement: the idea that we should morally improve people through the manipulation of their biological constitution. Whether moral enhancement is possible or even desirable is highly controversial. Proponents argue that it is necessary if we are to address various social ills and avert catastrophic climate change. Detractors have raised a variety of concerns, some of a practical nature and others of principle. Perhaps most fundamentally, however, the proposal forces us to ask anew what being moral actually means, in order for the idea of moral enhancement to make sense at all. The present collection both addresses these issues and moves the debate beyond its current parameters, bringing together authors with a wide range of perspectives and areas of expertise. Chapters variously draw on experimental psychology, social philosophy, pragmatism, Kantian and Aristotelian moral philosophy, and the ethics of care, sex, and psychedelics.
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