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The Philosophy Files [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Stephen Law , Daniel Postgate
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Mar 2006

Is there a God, should I eat meat, where does the universe come from, could I live for ever as a robot? These are the big questions readers will be wrestling with in this thoroughly enjoyable book. Dip into any chapter and you will find lively scenarios and dialogues to take you through philosophical puzzles ancient and modern, involving virtual reality, science fiction and a host of characters from this and other planets. The text is interspersed on every page with lively cartoons, and there is a list of philosophical jargon at the end..

Stephen Law has a gift for communicating complex ideas. He offers few answers, but his unstuffy, highly personal approach will have the reader thinking and arguing with as much pleasure as he does himself.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens; New Ed edition (16 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842550535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842550533
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

If the thought of a book about philosophy for kids turns your stomach, think again. This superb book, written by Stephen Law, a young philosophy lecturer from Oxford, is filled with an awe-inspiring enthusiasm for thinking and arguing some of the biggest questions.

From "Should I eat meat?" to "How Do I Know The World Isn't Virtual?" and the Big One: "Does God Exist?", each question is dealt with in a thoroughly modern manner that brings in the teachings of famous philosophers alongside broad philosophical arguments that are as entertaining as they are challenging.

Stephen Law has certainly hit the spot with this energetic interpretation of philosophical ideas, cleverly clearing the floor for discussion between children, and opening up conversation between children and adults.

The Philosophy Files takes an innovative step into the children's book genre with a soul-searching, thought-provoking look at the philosophical questions that shroud our everyday lives. If you ever thought that philosophy for kids would be a turn off, check this out, sit back and enjoy the ensuing debate. (Ages 9 and over) --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'a jargon-free, entertaining, uncomplicated approach to philosophy which makes no assumptions and encourages original thinking.' (Bridget Carrington WRITE AWAY!)

'Law is very good at dramatising philosophical problems so that children get to understand them as choices confronting them, rather than abstract questions... Highly recommended.' (Dina Rabinovitch THE GUARDIAN)

'poses challenging questions to children about life and the universe.' (IRISH EXAMINER)

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
By Aliosho Archer-Diana ... International School of Toulouse
The Philosophy Files is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking books that I have ever read. It also manages to be very funny and amusing at the same time. In his introduction the author clearly explains exactly what philosophical questions are and that it is his intention to pose questions in order to get the reader to think and figure out the answers for himself rather than presenting ready-made answers. I would say that this is exactly what he manages to achieve.
This is a book that challenges and stimulates. It is divided into eight chapters or files, each one of which covers a different and separate topic. This means that you can delve in at any point that appeals to you at any particular time. The author discusses important philosophical questions such as does God exist, how do we know the world is not one big dream, what makes us ourselves rather then someone else and where does morality come from. He presents us with many different arguments that are often put forward and he argues his own point of view to support or discount commonly held theories. However, as he emphasises in his introduction "the important thing in philosophy is to think for yourself," which means that we are free to disagree with him if we wish and to make up our own minds.
The author uses different techniques to introduce and develop his arguments and theories. He invents characters and personalities and tells us fun stories to illustrate the points he wants to make.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Philosophy Files_outer limits 5 April 2004
This book is great for teens aged 10 and up.
This book concentrates on the big question like who created the universe? and if god did who created god and who created the thing that created god and so on. I give it five stars and all kinds with big imaginations should read this
It keeps you reading
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an excellent book! 23 Nov 2001
I love it!
What a joy to find such a thought-provoker in such an accessible format.
Simple but powerful language with fun, extremely relevant illustrations.
I enjoyed Blackburn's "Think" and de Boutton's "The Consolations of Philosophy", but compared to this little book they are rather dry and dull.
Can't wait for volume 2.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The quality of the reviews already received bears witness to the civilizing influence of this timely book. At first I thought that it would be the sort of worthy, well-intentioned Child's Introduction to Philosophy that one lobs half-heartedly in the direction of a preternaturally 'Gifted Child', and washes one's own hands of pronto with relief. But I found it wholly gripping, and so do my pupils. This does for philosophy what Terry Deary has done for history. Any reader with a more-or-less still functioning brain and the ability to grapple with 'the nature of reality' or 'the meaning of life' will love it. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Philosophy Files - review 15 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Stephen Law's book takes many of the major contemporary questions of philosophy and ingeniously explains them in both easy to understand and entertaining ways. One of the things I like about this book is that it puts you right in the middle of the the quandary brought on by each philosophical question; in other words, you really feel you understand the questions on a personal level after reading each chapter. The questions and issues are explained using stories and dialogues between characters, which are always entertaining and often humorous. I found the book an excellent read myself, but my 13 year old son was just as absorbed by it. I would have to say its much more exciting and far more accessible than other "easy" introductions to Philosophy like Sophie's World. An excellent book for both adult and teenager, anyone with an interest in the questions asked by modern philosophy.
Mark Wingfield
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful intro to philosophy 4 Feb 2001
By A Customer
The "interactive" presentation of ideas in this book with its funny and imaginative illustrations of fundamental philosophical dilemmas has proved the perfect book to rekindle my eleven year old son's interest in reading. He wants more philsophy now!
Children have so many books from school in which they have to work through things in set orders and in which they are told what to think & what to believe that this book comes as a breath of fresh air. The author invites the reader to dip into the files at random and make up his/her own mind about everything. I'm sure that this lack of "lecturing" is a big part of what made this book stand out as special for my child.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I found this in a friend's bookcase, and at first laughed when they recommended it, thinking it to be 'just a kid's book.' But having read it this morning, I am just amazed at how Law puts some of the most complex concepts in philosophy so simply, particularly the chapters on philosophy of mind and the existence of God. If only all my uni texts were as accessible and enjoyable as this work!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My 13 year old loved it
My daughter really enjoys the philosophy she gets at school as part of RS- debating the pros and cons of things. She absolutely loved this book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Catherine Duns
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
When I noticed this book in her satchel this morning I told my daughter she must have read this book twice already. She replied 'No, Daddy, four times'. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ravabelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
I absolutely love this book!
As a teacher I often read books aimed at children/teens for inspiration when I teach a philosophy or ethics module. Read more
Published on 14 July 2011 by Hmckenna
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best you'll find
An absolute masterpiece of a book. When reviews say ‘a must read’ then it usually means the book is good and that is why the reviewer is reccommending it, but this book... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2002 by anon
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable and user-friendly
This is a brilliant book which makes philosophical argument readily accessible for anyone in an amusing and entertaining style. Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2001 by
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!
This is an outstanding introduction to philosophy. Stephen Law is an exceptionally talented writer. He manages to communicate the basics of philosophy in an entertaining and... Read more
Published on 3 May 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is absolutely amazing. I seriously recommend it.
I love this book. It is interesting because it asks questions you would never think of otherwise and it is very funny in some chapters. Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is absolutely amazing. I seriously recommend it.
I love this book. It is interesting because it asks questions you would never think of otherwise and it is very funny in some chapters. Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2001
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