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Ideas That Matter: A Personal Guide for the 21st Century: Key Concepts for the 21st Century Paperback – 1 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753826186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753826188
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy and Master of the New College of the Humanities, London. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has written and edited many books, both scholarly and for a general readership, and has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a former Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, Patron of the UK Armed Forces Humanist association, Patron of Dignity in Dying, a former Booker Prize Judge, a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society, a member of the human rights group IHEU represented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva; and much more.

Product Description

Book Description

Leading philosopher's guide to the ideas that will shape the 21st century.

About the Author

Anthony Grayling teaches philosophy at Birkbeck College, London and is a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He is a literary journalist and broadcaster who reviews frequently in the FT and has a regular column in PROSPECT.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
Grayling has made an effort here to distinguish between ideas that were once formative such as free will, determinism and perhaps angels dancing on a pin (which he has left out), and ideas that either are newly shaping the world, such as the Internet and artificial intelligence, or old ideas with new influences, such as democracy and history. The book consists of mini essays on 130 ideas from "absolutism" to Zeitgeist," covering subjects as diverse as string theory and romanticism. Grayling writes well and displays a sharp and considered intelligence that make this book a pleasure to read. He doesn't mealy mouth around what he sees as cant, error, willful ignorance or just rank stupidity. But he is eminently fair and not interested in inciting any riots.

It is clear from reading the entries (I read most of them) that Grayling is a philosopher first and a historian and social critic second. He is the author a couple of dozen books, mostly on philosophic subjects such as reason, meaning, Bishop Berkeley, Wittgenstein, philosophic logic and so on. Some of the ideas on philosophic subjects presented here such as consequentialism, deontology, and verificationism were a bit beyond the reach of this reader, but then that would be my problem. On the subjects about which I have some knowledge I found his treatment interesting, enlightening and mostly agreeable.

The closing paragraph on "communism"may serve as an example of the sort of deep understanding that Grayling brings to his diverse subject matter:

"China is the only country to try the experiment of a capitalist economy with a communist-style unelected central party command government.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Jones on 20 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find Professor Grayling's work admirable as he puts forward a calm but truthful analysis of the questions which are very relevant to today. The layout of headed chapters also means one can follow related subjects for further clarification.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By d griffiths on 9 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a splendid summary of some of the most important issues of our time. It will, predictably, be unattractive to the religiously inclined as it is dismissive of all superstition. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alex Graham on 9 May 2014
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and if you want to become a proficient essay writer, there is a model or every kind of essay in here that you could wish for, and expertly done. even reading the whole book a few times will massively improve your a essay writing abilities.
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By hazel beal on 27 Mar 2014
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Will take a lot of study, so am tackling it in easy stages. Somethings are simple others need a good bit of thinking about. But it is a good range of modern thinking if you want to get your ideas up to date
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rasselas on 9 May 2011
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For potted explanations of various human ways of thinking and behaving this is a useful book. Recommended reading for the bathroom as each entry is quite short, but engaging.
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Very thought provoking but written in a style which is easy to comprehend.
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