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A Beginner's Guide to Reality [Kindle Edition]

Jim Baggott
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A Beginner's Guide to Reality is an introduction to philosophy for people who don't read philosophy. Jim Baggott's sources range from Aristotle to The Matrix. He examines the major developments in Western philosophical thought on the nature of reality, at each of three levels - social, perceptual and physical. (Do money, colour, or photons exist?) The book systematically investigates these levels, peeling away the assumptions we make about those parts of reality that we take for granted.

Product Description

About the Author

Jim Baggott worked as an academic and in the oil industry for 11 years before setting up his own independent management consultancy practice. He was awarded the Marlow Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1989 and a Glaxo Science Writer's prize in 1992. His previous books include Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory, The Meaning of Quantum Theory: a Guide for Students of Chemistry and Physics and Perfect Symmetry: The Accidental Discovery of Buckminsterfullerene.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1227 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00EBFSF7A
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Sept. 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9FPY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #532,376 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
One should take the title serious, it is very much a beginner's guide. If you are not an absolute beginner to the field of speculation about reality you may find it a bit disappointing. Well I did. It is not actually bad. He writes a nice colloquial style, has a lot of cool references to cool films (like the Matrix, if you didn't guess from the cover art), and he ambitiously takes on the task of presenting a introductory glimpse into a field which spans sociology, psychology, various strands of philosophy: classic, analytic, and continental, and even modern physics with a big dollop of quantum mechanics.
Truly impressive to pack all of that into one book with less than 250 pages.

Why wasn't I impressed then? The book comes in three parts, starting with social reality, he works his way down to personal reality, to final reach out for the physical reality. Or actually he keeps reaching out for the unreality of it all. What looks like a intersting slide into the innermost secrets of the universe doesn't really work though, because the questions and problems raised by social reality don't actually lead to question and problems of personal reality, and the questions and problems of the consciousness don't lead up to problems of quantum mechanics. Would reversing the order have helped. I am not sure. In the end all he does is to list some of the theories and arguments generally discussed about each of the three levels of reality.
Anyway, the biggest problem is that he obviously a physicist who only feels really comfortable in the last part of the book, but even then unfortunately whenever it gets interesting and more involved he just keeps talking about the discussion rather than introducing the reader to it. I guess it would have made the book less small and easy going to try that.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food For The Mind 20 Feb. 2007
I was very impressed with this book - i am not a huge reader of books but have a real interest in philosophy, and thought/thinking in general.

Jim Baggott has produced a throughly interesting read here in his book, using everyday situations and things we take for granted and very simply put them down, questioning the 'norm'.

I like his humour and personal facts he puts on the bottom of various pages, keeping u interested and wanting to read on..

I had many problems and crazy thoughts about how we live our lives, and the way the world works in general, and i thought we are not really living at all, rather just playing a role in someone elses game.. and to read this book made me smile with evey page, and i had constant 'of course' thoughts with almost every statment - to sum it up, anyone wanting a crash course on beginners philosophy will be very happy and satisfied with this fantastic little book filled with wisdom.

10/10 for sure.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginners Guide to Reality 26 May 2009
Stand by to have your version of Reality challenged. Excellent book written in laymans terms but addresses the subject in economic (not boring), scientific and philosophical viewpoints that leave you wondering and thinking is anything real? I have bought this book for friends and relatives and sat back for the onslaught of discussion - terrific!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Title Sums this book up.. 16 Oct. 2009
This book really does deliver what it says on the cover, I have been interested in spirituality, reality and metaphysics for a few years now, this book is very easy to read and offers a great introduction to the world as it is. But that's about it, a very basic introduction, there is no new ideas to be found here, I didn't get very much out of this book. If you have no understanding off physics, metaphysics or the general existing ideas about reality it might be a good start. If you have already heard of Plato, Kant or Einstein and the ideas they have put forward in the past you probably wont get too much out of this book.
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