The Age of Nothing
By Peter Watson
The stirring story of one of the modern world's most important intellectual achievements: atheism.Since Friedrich Nietzsche roundly declared that 'God is dead' in 1882, a raft of reflective and courageous individuals have devoted their creative energies to devising ways to live without Him, turning instead to invention, enthusiasm, hope, wit and above all various forms of self-reliance. Their brave, innovative story has gone untold - until now. In THE AGE OF NOTHING, acclaimed historian Peter Watson offers a weeping narrative of the secular philosophers and poets, psychologists and other scientists, painters and playwrights, novelists and even choreographers who have forged a thrilling, bold path in the absence of religious belief.From Paul Valéry and George Santayana to Richard Rorty and Ronald Dworkin, from Georges Seurat and Constantin Brancusi to Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg, from Henrik Ibsen to Samuel Beckett, from Wallace Stevens and Rainer Maria Rilke to Elizabeth Bishop and Czeslaw Milosz, from Sigmund Freud and Benjamin Spock to E.O. Wilson and Sam Harris, THE AGE OF NOTHING brilliantly explores how atheism has evolved, and gained unprecedented popularity as it has sought to replace an unknowable God in the Afterlife.Atheism has had its share of ideologues, tyrants and charlatans but it is primarily a history of brave accomplishment and one that is far from finished. Watson's stimulating intellectual narrative explores the revolutionary ideas and big questions provoked by great minds and movements.A sparkling and ultimately triumphant history, THE AGE OF NOTHING is the first full story of our efforts to live without God.
By Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad
A magisterial overview of the philosophies of the East.'The time has come for global philosophy to move beyond the model where the West is at the centre of radiating spokes of comparison.' Challenging the notion that Western philosophy is the best or only yardstick against which to judge the so-called 'non-Western' philosophies, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad sets up a lively debate in which the great thought systems of the East are engaged very much in their own terms. The author's impressive sweep takes him through South Asia east to China and Japan, encompassing 3000 years of philosophy and including the ancient philosophies of India, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. At the same time, Ram-Prasad dispels the romantic illusion that there is some common mystical 'wisdom tradition' that binds together the cultures of the East. His aim is to give a sense of the diversity and depth of these philosophical cultures, as well as their sophistication and originality; and to make comparisons between them to illuminate their varied yet potentially universal appeal.
The Brain is Wider Than the Sky
By Bryan Appleyard
A brand-new book from the award-winning SUNDAY TIMES journalist Brian Appleyard.Simplicity has become a brand and a cult. People want simple lives and simple solutions. And now our technology wants us to be simpler, to be 'machine readable'. From telephone call trees that simplify us into a series of 'options' to social networks that reduce us to our purchases and preferences, we are deluged with propaganda urging us to abandon our irreducibly complex selves. At the same time, scientists tell us we are 'simply' the products of evolution, nothing more than our genes. Brain scanners have inspired neuroscientists to claim they are close to cracking the problem of the human mind. 'Human equivalent' computers are being designed that, we are told, will do our thinking for us. Humans are being simplified out of existence. It is time, says Bryan Appleyard, to resist, and to reclaim the full depth of human experience. We are, he argues, naturally complex creatures, we are only ever at home in complexity. Through art and literature we see ourselves in ways that machines never can. He makes an impassioned plea for the voices of art to be heard before those of the technocrats. Part memoir, part reportage, part cultural analysis, THE BRAIN IS WIDER THAN THE SKY is a dire warning about what we may become and a lyrical evocation of what humans can be. For the brain is indeed wider than the sky.
The Xmas Files
By Stephen Law
A philosophical but fun look at the meanings of Christmas myths and rituals, from carving the turkey to why Santa wears red.Picture the scene: Aunt Gertrude has just given you the most appalling Christmas tie, complete with snow-flecked kittens in a bowler hat. Do you smile, nod, and confine it to the bottom drawer? Or do you tell the truth and spare yourself future ties from hell? Kant would say that we must, at all costs, tell the truth - whilst Mill would insist that we should think of the consequences. THE XMAS FILES is a philosophical meander though the myths and rituals of Christmas today, asking such important questions as does Santa exist? What's wrong with Christmas kitsch? Is it all just a commercial racket? What was Augustine's attitude to 'peace on earth'? And what would David Hume have to say about the virgin birth? For underneath all the festive fun, the way we celebrate Christmas does raise serious questions about the beliefs that sustain us, and the ways in which we still value ritual and tradition as a means of coming together.
Errata: An Examined Life
By George Steiner
A fascinating insight into a piercingly intelligent mind.Steiner's brilliant and elegant new book draws on episodes from his life to explore the central themes and ideas of his thinking and writing over the course of much of our troubled century. An exploration of the ideas of the life of a major and brilliant thinker, the closest we will get to an autobiography.
The Great Philosophers:Heidegger
By Johnathan Ree
By Gideon Calder
Popular Great Philosopher's Series.An accessible overview of the work of one of our most influential living philosophers, as part of the popular Great Philosophers series. Richard Rorty is often cited as the most prominent philosophical defender of postmodernism. Best known for his unusually readable books and articles on philosophy - most notably Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979) and Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989) - Rorty has for some years now been a wide-ranging public intellectual, unwilling to be confined within the boundaries of academe. There is no real school of Rortianism. But Rorty-bashing is almost an industry in itself. He is a renegade to purists, a reactionary to radicals and a subversive to conservatives. And yet he presents his ideas as the culmination and extension of many of the most familiar and fashionable trends in contemporary thinking.
The Great Philosophers: Russell
By Ray Monk
The Great Philosophers:Marx
By Terry Eagleton
Part of the GREAT PHILOSOPHERS series.Terry Eagleton explains that freedom, for Marx, entailed release from commercial labour, "a kind of creative superabundance over what is materially essential". Eagleton outlines the relationship between production, labour and ownership which lie at the core of Marx's thinking. Marx's utopia was a place in which labour is increasingly automated, emancipating the wealth of sensuous individual development so that "savouring a peach [is an aspect] of our self-actualisation as much as building dams".
The Great Philosophers: Nietzsche
By Ronald Hayman
A short book combining extracts from the work of one of the world's greatest thinkers combined with commentary from one of Britain's most distinguished writers on philosophy.
The Great Philosophers: Hume
A short book combining extracts from the work of one of the world's greatest thinkers with commentary by on of Britain's most distinguished writers on philosophy.
The Great Philosophers: Descartes
By John Cottingham
The Great Philosophers: Wittgenstein
By Peter Hacker