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undomielle

The Boat Was My Friend

...The cliff edge of workaday morality

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Rivers of London
Ben Aaronovitch
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Tom Holt
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Dave Eggers

"I'm trying to think, don't confuse me with facts."

A Little History of Philosophy - Nigel Warburton

Philosophy thrives on debate. On principle. Therefore being in agreement with a thinker isn’t even a useful subjective indicator of the value of one’s ideas. Consistency within a certain framework of thinking however is.

What’s lovely about this book is that the author stays true to this belief. A Little History of Philosophy works marvellously as an introductory document to (some of) the most important thinkers of the western civilisation, from antiquity and Socrates to the modern era and Peter Singer.

That said, and despite the fact that it would be unreasonable to expect Nigel Warburton to fit everyone in (besides, does “everyone” even mean anything? In Philosophy? I think not), I've found rather odd that Martin Heidegger is left out. This becomes inexplicable when you realise that the author even takes the time to cover Hannah Arendt who was Heidegger’s student and lover, and that their relationship is actually mentioned! So he didn't forget.

I could refer to other omissions, such as Jacques Derrida and Edmund Husserl, but such an argument would only fail, considering that there’s no room for personal preference in someone else’s choice, let alone that the list of thinkers is pretty solid overall.

Furthermore, some ideas and cultural traits get oversimplified here, but this is done in a way that reflects an honesty of the author’s intention to keep everything short, or at least that’s what I thought, so if you take this for granted and be critical about it at the same time, I don’t think it’s much of a problem.

I would recommend this book to everyone with an interest in Philosophy, especially if you haven’t dived too deep into it yet. Each chapter reads more like a pleasant vignette rather than a profound analysis of the provocative and inspiring minds of our world, but it does succeed in giving incentives for the works of these great thinkers to be further explored by the reader!