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'If you only read one book this year, make it this one' CATHY RENTZENBRINK
'This book must be read by as many people as possible - only when people change their view of human nature will they begin to believe in the possibility of building a better world' GRACE BLAKELEY
'It'd be no surprise if it proved to be the Sapiens of 2020' GUARDIAN
It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest.
Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too.
In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world's most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram's Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think - and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society.
It is time for a new view of human nature.
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.
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.
'It is impossible to live the pleasant life without also living sensibly, nobly and justly' The ancient Greek philosopher and teacher Epicurus argued that pleasure - not sensual hedonism, but the absence of pain or fear - is the highest goal of life. His hugely influential lessons on happiness are a call to appreciate the joy of being alive. One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.
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
Democracy was born in Athens. From its founding myths to its golden age and its chaotic downfall, it's rich with lessons for our own times. Why did vital civil engagement and fair debate descend into paralysis and populism? Can we compare Creon to Trump, Demokratia to the American Constitution or Demosthenes' On the Crown to the Brexit campaign? And how did a second referenda save the Athenians from a bloodthirsty decision? With verve and acuity, the heroics and the critics of Athenian democracy are brought to bear on today's politics, revealing in all its glories and its flaws the system that still survives to execute the power of the people.
'One swallow does not make a summer; neither does one day. Similarly neither can one day, or a brief space of time, make a man blessed and happy' What does it mean to be a good person? Ranging over eternal questions of right and wrong, pleasure and self-control, friendship and courage, Aristotle's lectures on ethics are among the most lasting and profound philosophical works of all time. One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.
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.
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.
'Updating Bertrand Russell for the 21st century . . . a cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit . . . The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations' Sunday Times The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey. With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates, through Christianity's dominance of the European mind to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too. Intelligible for students and eye-opening for philosophy readers, he covers epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates in these areas of enquiry, through the ideas of the celebrated philosophers as well as less well-known influential thinkers. He also asks what we have learnt from this body of thought, and what progress is still to be made. The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy for decades, remarkable for its range and clarity, this is a landmark work.
Existentialism: An Introduction has established itself as the most comprehensive and accessible book on the subject available. In this fully revised and expanded second edition, Kevin Aho draws on a wide range of existentialist thinkers from both the secular and religious traditions, adding a wealth of new material on existentialism's relationship with Marxist thought and its impact on feminist phenomenology and critical race theory. Chapters center on the key themes of freedom, authenticity, being-in-the-world, alienation, and nihilism. Aho also addresses important but often overlooked issues in the canon of existentialism, including the role of embodiment, existentialism's contribution to ethics, political theory and environmental and comparative philosophies, as well as its influence on the allied health professions. By tracking its many and significant influences on modern thought, Kevin Aho shows why existentialism cannot be easily dismissed as a moribund or outdated movement, but instead endures as one of the most important and vibrant areas of contemporary philosophy. Existentialism remains so influential because it forcefully deals with what it means to be human and engages with fundamental questions such as "Who am I?" and "How should I live?" Existentialism: An Introduction is the ideal text for upper-level philosophy students and for anyone interested in the movement's key figures and concepts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A vivid and accessible new translation of Cicero's influential writings on the Stoic idea of the divine Most ancient Romans were deeply religious and their world was overflowing with gods-from Jupiter, Minerva, and Mars to countless local divinities, household gods, and ancestral spirits. One of the most influential Roman perspectives on religion came from a nonreligious belief system that is finding new adherents even today: Stoicism. How did the Stoics think about religion? In How to Think about God, Philip Freeman presents vivid new translations of Cicero's On the Nature of the Gods and The Dream of Scipio. In these brief works, Cicero offers a Stoic view of belief, divinity, and human immortality, giving eloquent expression to the religious ideas of one of the most popular schools of Roman and Greek philosophy. On the Nature of the Gods and The Dream of Scipio are Cicero's best-known and most important writings on religion, and they have profoundly shaped Christian and non-Christian thought for more than two thousand years, influencing such luminaries as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and Thomas Jefferson. These works reveal many of the religious aspects of Stoicism, including an understanding of the universe as a materialistic yet continuous and living whole in which both the gods and a supreme God are essential elements. Featuring an introduction, suggestions for further reading, and the original Latin on facing pages, How to Think about God is a compelling guide to the Stoic view of the divine.
A spirited new translation of a forgotten classic, shot through with timeless wisdom Is there an art to drinking alcohol? Can drinking ever be a virtue? The Renaissance humanist and neoclassical poet Vincent Obsopoeus (ca. 1498-1539) thought so. In the winelands of sixteenth-century Germany, he witnessed the birth of a poisonous new culture of bingeing, hazing, peer pressure, and competitive drinking. Alarmed, and inspired by the Roman poet Ovid's Art of Love, he wrote The Art of Drinking (De Arte Bibendi) (1536), a how-to manual for drinking with pleasure and discrimination. In How to Drink, Michael Fontaine offers the first proper English translation of Obsopoeus's text, rendering his poetry into spirited, contemporary prose and uncorking a forgotten classic that will appeal to drinkers of all kinds and (legal) ages. Arguing that moderation, not abstinence, is the key to lasting sobriety, and that drinking can be a virtue if it is done with rules and limits, Obsopoeus teaches us how to manage our drinking, how to win friends at social gatherings, and how to give a proper toast. But he also says that drinking to excess on occasion is okay-and he even tells us how to win drinking games, citing extensive personal experience. Complete with the original Latin on facing pages, this sparkling work is as intoxicating today as when it was first published.
A brilliant philosopher reimagines Stoicism for our modern age in this thought-provoking guide to a better life. For more than two thousand years, Stoicism has offered a message of resilience in the face of hardship. Little wonder, then, that it is having such a revival in our own troubled times. But there is no denying how weird it can be: Is it really the case that we shouldn't care about our work, our loved ones, or our own lives? According to the old Stoics, yes. In A Field Guide to a Happy Life, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci offers a renewed Stoicism that reflects modern science and sensibilities. Pigliucci embraces the joyful bonds of affection, the satisfactions of a job well done, and the grief that attends loss. In his hands, Stoicism isn't about feats of indifference, but about enduring pain without being overwhelmed, while enjoying pleasures without losing our heads. In short, he makes Stoicism into a philosophy all of us -- whether committed Stoics or simply seekers -- can use to live better.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one", Simone de Beauvoir A symbol of liberated womanhood, Simone de Beauvoir's unconventional relationships inspired and scandalised her generation. A philosopher, writer, and feminist icon, she won prestigious literary prizes and transformed the way we think about gender with The Second Sex. But despite her successes, she wondered if she had sold herself short. Her liaison with Jean-Paul Sartre has been billed as one of the most legendary love affairs of the twentieth century. But for Beauvoir it came at a cost: for decades she was dismissed as an unoriginal thinker who 'applied' Sartre's ideas. In recent years new material has come to light revealing the ingenuity of Beauvoir's own philosophy and the importance of other lovers in her life. This ground-breaking biography draws on never-before-published diaries and letters to tell the fascinating story of how Simone de Beauvoir became herself.
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."
How did Nietzsche the philosopher come into being? The Nietzsche known today did not develop 'naturally', through the gradual maturation of some inborn character. Instead, from an early age he engaged in a self-conscious campaign to follow his own guidance, thereby cultivating the critical capacities and personal vision which figure in his books. As a result, his published works are steeped in values that he discovered long before he mobilised their results. Indeed, one could argue that the first work which he authored was not a book at all, but his own persona. Based on scholarship previously available only in German, this book examines Nietzsche's unstable childhood, his determination to advance through self-formation, and the ways in which his environment, notably the Prussian education system, alternately influenced and impeded his efforts to find his own way. It will be essential reading for all who are interested in Nietzsche.
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