Paris, near the turn of 1933. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, 'You can make philosophy out of this cocktail!'
Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life. The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control.
"Buy the physical book"
In a single volume, the seminal writings of the world's leading philosopher, linguist, and critic, published to coincide with his 80th birthday. For the past 40 years Noam Chomsky's writings on politics and language have established him as a preeminent public intellectual and as one of the most original and wide-ranging political and social critics of our time. Among the seminal figures in linguistic theory over the past century, since the 1960s Chomsky has also secured a place as perhaps the leading dissident voice in the United States.
"Illuminating and exceptional"
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life.
"Great follow up to the Antidote by Oliver Burkeman"
The ideal of freedom is at the heart of our political and economic system. It is foundational to our sense of justice, our way of life, our conception of what it is to be human. But are we free in the way that we think we are? In Creating Freedom, Raoul Martinez brings together a torrent of mind-expanding ideas, facts and arguments to dismantle sacred myths central to our society - myths about free will, free markets, free media and free elections.
"Deeply thought provoking..."
Peter Singer is often described as the world's most influential philosopher. He is also one of its most controversial. The author of important books such as Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, Rethinking Life and Death, and The Life You Can Save, he helped launch the animal rights and effective altruism movements and contributed to the development of bioethics. Now, in Ethics in the Real World, Singer shows that he is also a master at dissecting important current events.
The good news is that the great thinkers from history have proposed the same strategies for happiness and fulfilment. The bad news is that these turn out to be the very things most discouraged by contemporary culture. This knotty dilemma is the subject of The Age of Absurdity - a wry and accessible investigation into how the desirable states of well-being and satisfaction are constantly undermined by modern life.
"In yer face modern philosophy!"
Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about the world and how best to live in it.
Michael Foley wants to understand why he doesn't appear to be experiencing as much fun as everyone else. So, with characteristic wit and humour, he sets out to understand what fun really means, examining its heritage, its cultural significance and the various activities we associate with fun. He investigates pursuits such as dancing, sex, holidays, sport, gaming and comedy and concludes that fun is not easy, simple and fixed, as many seem to believe, but elusive, complex and constantly changing.
"Not quite ''The Age of Absurdity''"
In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet", focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.
"Coherent and engaging"
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer.
"You do the hokey, cokey and....."
This is an audiobook about the big questions in life: knowledge, consciousness, fate, God, truth, goodness, justice. It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them. Think sets out to explain what they are and why they are important. Simon Blackburn begins by putting forward a convincing case for the study of philosophy and goes on to give the listener a sense of how the great historical figures such as Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein have approached its central themes.
What is literary theory? Is there a relationship between literature and culture? These are some of questions addressed by Jonathan Culler in this new edition of his highly popular Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Culler, an extremely lucid commentator and much admired in the field of literary theory, uses easy-to-grasp examples as he outlines the ideas behind schools of criticism that can otherwise be quite daunting, such as deconstruction, semiotics, and postcolonial theory.
"Now have bought the book"
Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy.
The Complete Book of Five Rings is an authoritative version of Musashi's classic The Book of Five Rings, translated and annotated by a modern martial arts master, Kenji Tokitsu. Tokitsu has spent most of his life researching the legendary samurai swordsman and his works, and in this book he illuminates this seminal text, along with several other works by Musashi.
"Truely enteraining and Instructive."
The Age of Genius explores the eventful intertwining of outward event and inner intellectual life to tell, in all its richness and depth, the story of the 17th century in Europe. It was a time of creativity unparalleled in history before or since, from science to the arts, from philosophy to politics. Acclaimed philosopher and historian A. C. Grayling points to three primary factors that led to the rise of vernacular (popular) languages in philosophy, theology, science, and literature.
"Enlightening and inspiring."
A compelling investigation into one of our most coveted and cherished ideals, and the efforts of modern science to penetrate the mysterious nature of this timeless virtue. We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a dramatic history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in four different locations (Greece, China, Israel, and India) in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations.
Philosophers don't just make claims, they give arguments. Does the existence of evil call into doubt the existence of God? Show me the argument. Will living a just life lead to happiness? Show me the argument. Philosophy starts with questions, but attempts at answers are just as important, and these answers require reasoned argument. Cutting through notoriously dense and verbose philosophical prose, the authors set 100 famous and influential arguments in context, including key quotations
White Girls, Hilton Als' first book since The Women 14 years ago, finds one of The New Yorker's boldest cultural critics deftly weaving together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of "white girls", as Als dubs the main expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Malcolm X and Flannery O'Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.
Foucault is one of those rare philosophers who has become a cult figure. Born in 1926 in France, over the course of his life he dabbled in drugs, politics, and the Paris SM scene, all whilst striving to understand the deep concepts of identity, knowledge, and power. From aesthetics to the penal system; from madness and civilization to avant-garde literature, Foucault was happy to reject old models of thinking and replace them with versions that are still widely debated today.
Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. This bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other infamous strategists. The 48 Laws of Power will fascinate any listener interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.
"Read it...or don't"
Humanity now, perhaps more than in any previous time, has an opportunity to create a new, saner, more loving world. This will involve a radical inner leap from the current egoic consciousness to an entirely new one. In illuminating the nature of this shift in consciousness, Tolle describes in detail how our current ego-based state of consciousness operates. Then gently, and in very practical terms, he leads us into this new consciousness. We will come to experience who we truly are and learn to live and breathe freely.
'Is it the world that's busy, or my mind?' The world moves fast, but that doesn't mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United States, offers advice on everything from handling setbacks to dealing with rest and relationships.
Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy serves as the perfect introduction to its subject; it remains unchallenged as the greatest account of the history of Western thought. Charting philosophy's course from the pre-Socratics up to the early twentieth century, Russell relates each philosopher and school to their respective historical and cultural contexts, providing erudite commentary throughout his invaluable survey.
"Great set of lectures"
Internationally renowned psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his search for meaning.
"Potentially life changing..."
With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which the heavens are replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.
"Essential listening (open mind required)"
Everyone says they want to be happy. But that's much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it? Across the millennia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness. They have defined it in many different ways and come up with myriad strategies for living the good life. Drawing on this vast body of work, in Happy Derren Brown explores changing concepts of happiness - from the surprisingly modern wisdom of the Stoics and Epicureans in classical times right up until today.
"A disastrous narrator. I'll be asking for a refund"
What is human consciousness, and how is it possible? This question fascinates thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers. From Bacteria to Bach and Back is Daniel C. Dennett's brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains, and human culture.
"An excellent Dennett exploration"
The secrets of creative thinking by a lecturer at the world famous St. Martin's College of Art who has spent a lifetime researching innovative thinkers. A scuba-diving company faces bankruptcy because sharks have infested the area. Solution? Open the world's first extreme diving school. The Art of Creative Thinking reveals how we can transform ourselves, our businesses, and our society through a deeper understanding of human creativity.
"Intelligent, thought provoking fun. "
Why have history's greatest minds - from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson along with today's top performers, from Super Bowl-winning football coaches to CEOs and celebrities - embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise. The Daily Stoic offers a daily devotional of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations.
"Great content, TERRIBLE audio delivery"
Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions-without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.
"Well presented introduction to philosophy"
From Rhonda Byrne, creator of the international bestselling movie and book, The Secret, comes HERO, her latest world-changing project and the most important to date. What is your true calling and why aren't you already living it? Imagine if there was a map that showed you step by step how to get from where you are now to your true calling and the life you were born to live - the most brilliant, rich, fulfilling, and dazzling life you could ever dream of. You are holding in your hands such a map. HERO is the map for your life.
"Turning dreams into an adventure"
This engaging and accessible book invites the listener to explore the questions and arguments of philosophy through the work of 100 of the greatest thinkers within the Western intellectual tradition - covering philosophical, scientific, political, and religious thought over a period of 2500 years.
One of the most significant books ever written by a head of State, the Meditations are a collection of philosophical thoughts by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 ce). Covering issues such as duty, forgiveness, brotherhood, strength in adversity and the best way to approach life and death, the Meditations have inspired thinkers, poets and politicians since their first publication more than 500 years ago. Today, the book stands as one of the great guides and companions - a cornerstone of Western thought.
"A matter of life and death."
Can literature change our real world society? At its foundation, utopian and dystopian fiction asks a few seemingly simple questions aimed at doing just that. Who are we as a society? Who do we want to be? Who are we afraid we might become? When these questions are framed in the speculative versions of Heaven and Hell on earth, you won't find easy answers, but you will find tremendously insightful and often entertaining perspectives.
As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption - even murder and genocide - generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie. In Lying, bestselling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie.
"Very good essay. Very short"
In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. Now, in The Audacity of Hope, he calls for a different brand of politics: a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the "endless clash of armies" we see in Congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of "our improbable experiment in democracy".
"Much better than its title."