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Making Sense: Philosophy behind the Headlines
 
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Making Sense: Philosophy behind the Headlines [Kindle Edition]

Julian Baggini
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

There are numerous good introductory books on philosophy but Julian Baggini's Making Sense: Philosophy Behind the Headlines is of immediate practical benefit because it takes important, emotive headline news stories as its subject matter. Baggini identifies the relevant and significant philosophical themes behind the headlines and shows how the press frequently neglect critical philosophical questions and distinctions in their presentation of serious news items.

The book begins by clarifying exactly what is meant by "philosophy" before explaining how it relates to the real-world concerns of the news media. Of the 10 chapters several analyse arguments around issues of immediate and pressing importance such as those used to justify war or those used to promote or attack the introduction of GMO foods. Other topics include the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, the status of science and the trustworthiness of scientists, abortion, euthanasia and the nature of the self as well as the process of valuation concerning the relative worth of public projects such as the Tate Modern and the Millennium Dome. In a chapter discussing the Waco siege and the Branch Davidians, religious believers are challenged to distinguish between dangerously irrational cults and any kind of religious faith. Throughout the book philosophical concepts such as "rights", "freedom", and "equality" are examined and techniques of philosophical analysis are brought to bear only in so far as they shed light upon the topics under discussion.

Baggini has an enviably clear, accessible and jargon-free style but what's most valuable about Making Sense is that it urges us not only to habitually examine the arguments found in the major news stories, but also to pay special attention to our own argumentative strategies in order to uncover our own unexamined prejudices. --Larry Brown

Amazon Review

There are numerous good introductory books on philosophy but Julian Baggini's Making Sense: Philosophy Behind the Headlines is of immediate practical benefit because it takes important, emotive headline news stories as its subject matter. Baggini identifies the relevant and significant philosophical themes behind the headlines and shows how the press frequently neglect critical philosophical questions and distinctions in their presentation of serious news items.

The book begins by clarifying exactly what is meant by "philosophy" before explaining how it relates to the real-world concerns of the news media. Of the 10 chapters several analyse arguments around issues of immediate and pressing importance such as those used to justify war or those used to promote or attack the introduction of GMO foods. Other topics include the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, the status of science and the trustworthiness of scientists, abortion, euthanasia and the nature of the self as well as the process of valuation concerning the relative worth of public projects such as the Tate Modern and the Millennium Dome. In a chapter discussing the Waco siege and the Branch Davidians, religious believers are challenged to distinguish between dangerously irrational cults and any kind of religious faith. Throughout the book philosophical concepts such as "rights", "freedom", and "equality" are examined and techniques of philosophical analysis are brought to bear only in so far as they shed light upon the topics under discussion.

Baggini has an enviably clear, accessible and jargon-free style but what's most valuable about Making Sense is that it urges us not only to habitually examine the arguments found in the major news stories, but also to pay special attention to our own argumentative strategies in order to uncover our own unexamined prejudices. --Larry Brown

Review

"The best popular primer I've seen on the foundations of humanist thought...Entertaining and useful...The reader is able to learn about freedom and its limits, different concepts of equality, pacifism and just war theory, ways to determine harm to the environment, the problem of assigning value, the issues of faith versus reason as well as 'cults' versus established religions, and arguments for establishing the validity of science."

Product Description

In Making Sense, Julian Baggini examines the philosophical issues and disputes that lie behind such news stories as the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, the war against terrorism, the siege at Waco, genetically modified foods, and advances in human therapeutic cloning.
Baggini, founding editor of the highly popular Philosopher's Magazine, shows how we can use the techniques of philosophy and the insights of its greatest practitioners to understand the issues behind the headlines. He explains the proper role of philosophy in such inquiries, showing both the limits and the reach of the philosophical analysis of current affairs, and also argues that applying philosophy to news stories can and should inform our wider understanding--what we know, believe, and value.
Baggini covers themes such as war, truth, morality, the environment, religious faith, the ending of life, and the meaning of value. He weaves philosophy and current affairs to create a compelling narrative that challenges how we make sense both of the world around us and of our own beliefs.

About the Author

Julian has both an academic and journalistic background. He was awarded a PhD in philosophy from University College London in 1997 for his thesis on personal identity. However, he decided not to then embark on an academic career and focused instead on The Philosophers' Magazine. He has published as a freelance, with his reviews and comment pieces appearing in, among others, the Independent, Independent on Sunday, Times Educational Supplement and New Humanist. He also has a regular
column in The Skeptic
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