David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton have now carried out well over a hundred audio podcast interviews with philosophers. This remarkable series has now attracted more than eight million hits, demonstrating the potential popularity of philosophy when made available in an accessible form. This selection of twenty-five of those interviews in written form demonstrates just why the series has been so successful.
The volume is intelligently arranged. It begins with the struggling attempts of the interviewees to answer the question, 'What is Philosophy?'. Perhaps their difficulties were related to the range of topics and approaches covered by the subject area, as the main part of the book then illustrates. Divided into the five broad categories, 'Ethics', 'Politics', 'Metaphysics and Mind', 'Aesthetics' and 'God, Atheism and the Meaning of Life', each interview in each section provides food for thought. Of course, much of the credit for this goes to the interviewees, most of whom express their ideas with admirable clarity. But at least as much goes to Edmonds and Warburton, both philosophers themselves. Because thy understand the field so well, the questions go straight to the point, probing the respondents to define the essence of their distinctive arguments.
Readers are bound to have their own favourites and it is invidious to choose, but I found the following particularly engaging: Michael Sandel on Sport and Enhancement, Miranda Fricker on Credibility and Discrimination, Tim Crane on Mind and Body, Alain de Botton on the Aesthetics of Architecture, and Don Cupitt on Non-Realism about God. But the whole book is an excellent read and I look forward to the next volume.