The Stone Reader provides an unparalleled overview of contemporary philosophy.
Once solely the province of ivory-tower professors and college classrooms, contemporary philosophy was finally emancipated from its academic closet in 2010, when "The Stone" was launched in The New York Times. First appearing as an online series, the column quickly attracted millions of readers through its accessible examination of universal topics like the nature of science, consciousness, and morality while also probing more contemporary issues such as the morality of drones, gun control, and the gender divide.
The Stone Reader presents 133 meaningful and influential essays from the series, placing nearly the entirety of modern philosophical discourse in the listener's reach. The audiobook, divided into four broad sections - philosophy, science, religion and morals, and society - opens with a series of questions about the scope, history, and identity of philosophy: What are the practical uses of philosophy? Does the discipline, begun in the West in ancient Greece with Socrates, favor men and exclude women? Does the history and study of philosophy betray a racial bias against nonwhite thinkers or geographical bias toward the West?
These questions and others form a foundation for listeners as the audiobook moves to the second section, science, where some of our most urgent contemporary philosophical debates are taking place. Will artificial intelligence compromise our morality? Does neuroscience undermine our free will? Is there a legitimate place for the humanities in a world where science and technology appear to rule? Should the evidence for global warming change the way we live or die?
In the book's third section, religion and morals, we find philosophy where it is often at its best, sharpest, and most disturbing - working through the arguments provoked by competing moral theories in the face of real-life issues and rigorously addressing familiar ethical dilemmas in a new light. Can we have a true moral life without belief in God? What are the dangers of moral relativism?
In its final part, society, The Stone Reader returns to its origins as a forum to encourage philosophers who are willing to engage closely, critically, and analytically with the affairs of the day, including economic inequality, technology, and racial discrimination. In directly confronting events like the September 11 attacks, the killing of Trayvon Martin, and the Sandy Hook School massacre, the essays here reveal the power of philosophy to help shape our viewpoints on nearly every issue we face today.
©2016 The New York Times Company (P)2015 Gildan Media LLC
"Philosophy made relevant by writers grappling with thorny issues. [An] eclectic, lively gathering of essays...on the discipline of philosophy; the contribution of science to 'the riddle of the human species'; vexing questions about religion, morality, and God; and society, which includes reflections on economics, politics, family, race (including the killing of Trayvon Martin), violence (including the Sandy Hook school shootings), and America's fierce attachment to what Firmin DeBrabander calls 'robust individualism and self-determination.' Serious pieces that serve as counterweights to the frothy blogosphere." (Kirkus Reviews)
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I was excited to listen to this, but couldn't bring myself to finish the intro. I was expecting to learn more about philosophy and what I got instead was a polemical screed. Preaching to the choir might be fun for the author, but talking down to your audience doesn't make for good listening.
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