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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.
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.
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 Bamfordpresent 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 anddiscussing 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.
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.
'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
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.
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.
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.
Terence Irwin's edition of the Nicomachean Ethics offers more aids to the reader than are found in any modern English translation. It includes an Introduction, headings to help the reader follow the argument, explanatory notes on difficult or important passages, and a full glossary explaining Aristotle's technical terms. The Third Edition offers additional revisions of the translation as well as revised and expanded versions of the notes, glossary, and Introduction. Also new is an appendix featuring translated selections from related texts of Aristotle.
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.
The most widely read anthology for the study of modern philosophy, this volume provides key works of philosophers and other leading thinkers of the period, chosen to enhance the reader's understanding of modern philosophy and its relationship to the natural sciences of the time. The third edition incorporates important contributions of women and minority thinkers into the canon of the modern period, while retaining all of the material of the previous edition. Included are works by Princess Elisabeth, Margaret Cavendish Duchess of Newcastle, Lady Anne Conway, Anton Wilhelm Amo, Lady Damaris Masham, Lady Mary Shepherd, and Emilie Marquise Du Chatelet.
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.
Classical Philosophy is the first of a series of books in which Peter Adamson aims ultimately to present a complete history of philosophy, more thoroughly but also more enjoyably than ever before. In short, lively chapters, based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, he offers an accessible, humorous, and detailed look at the emergence of philosophy with the Presocratics, the probing questions of Socrates, and the first full flowering of philosophy with the dialogues of Plato and the treatises of Aristotle. The story is told 'without any gaps', discussing not only such major figures but also less commonly discussed topics like the Hippocratic Corpus, the Platonic Academy, and the role of women in ancient philosophy. Within the thought of Plato and Aristotle, the reader will find in-depth introductions to major works, such as the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, which are treated in detail that is unusual in an introduction to ancient philosophy. Adamson looks at fascinating but less frequently read Platonic dialogues like the Charmides and Cratylus, and Aristotle's ideas in zoology and poetics. This full coverage allows him to tackle ancient discussions in all areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, ethics and politics. Attention is also given to the historical and literary context of classical philosophy, with exploration of how early Greek cosmology responded to the poets Homer and Hesiod, how Socrates was presented by the comic playwright Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon, and how events in Greek history may have influenced Plato's thought. This is a new kind of history which will bring philosophy to life for all readers, including those coming to the subject for the first time.
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.
The British bestseller "Straw Dogs "is an exciting, radical work of philosophy, which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human. From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx, the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world. Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism think of humankind as a species whose destiny is to transcend natural limits and conquer the Earth. John Gray argues that this belief in human difference is a dangerous illusion and explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. The result is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that leads the reader to question our deepest-held beliefs. Will Self, in the "New Statesman," called "Straw Dogs "his book of the year: "I read it once, I read it twice and took notes . . . I thought it that good." "Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book" ("Sunday Telegraph").
What is to be done? This was the question asked by Lenin in 1901 when he was having doubts about the revolutionary capabilities of the Russian working class. 77 years later, Louis Althusser asked the same question. Faced with the tidal wave of May '68 and the recurrent hostility of the Communist Party towards the protests, he wanted to offer readers a succinct guide for the revolution to come. Lively, brilliant and engaged, this short text is wholly oriented towards one objective: to organise the working class struggle. Althusser provides a sharp critique of Antonio Gramsci's writings and of Eurocommunism, which seduced various Marxists at the time. But this book is above all the opportunity for Althusser to state what he had not succeeded in articulating elsewhere: what concrete conditions would need to be satisfied before the revolution could take place. Left unfinished, it is published here in English for the first time.
William Sloane Coffin offers here a powerful antidote to the
politics of the religious right with a clarion call to passive
intellectuals and dispirited liberals to reenter the fray with an
unabashedly Christian view of social justice. Refusing to cede the
battlefield of morality to conservatives, he argues that
"compassion demands confrontation," as he considers such topics as
homophobia, diversity, nuclear weapons, and civil discourse.
This edition contains Donald Cress's completely revised translation of the Meditations (from the corrected Latin edition) and recent corrections to Discourse on Method , bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while maintaining the clear and accessible style of a classic teaching edition.
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."
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.
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