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The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: And Ninety Nine Other Thought Experiments Hardcover – 7 Jul 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (7 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862077487
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862077485
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.3 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julian Baggini's books include The Ego Trick, Welcome to Everytown, What's It All About? - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life and The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, all published by Granta Books. He writes for several newspapers and magazines and is co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine.

Product Description

Review

'An eloquent and engaging introduction to the major philosophical quandaries about identity, knowledge, morality and rationality' -- Scotland on Sunday

'Baggini’s thought experiments provide an enjoyable work-out for the mind' -- London Review of Books

'Examines received opinions, things we take for granted, and dissects them entertainingly' -- The Times

'For people who want an honest, intelligent discussion which does not shy away from difficulties' -- Publishing News

'Ideal for reading aloud' -- Metro (London)

'This book is like the Sudoku of moral philosophy' -- New Statesman

'Thought experiments, aka moral or philosophical dilemmas, aren’t just the realm of eccentic beardy academics' -- Brighton Evening Argus

‘Baggini offers us a tempting smorgasbord of some of the most baffling, weird and occasionally downright creepy scenarios ever envisaged’ -- The Guardian

‘Thinking again is what this taut, incisive, bullet- hard book is dedicated to promoting’ -- The Sunday Times

About the Author

Julian Baggini is the editor and co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. He writes regularly for the Guardian, Independent and Independent on Sunday, Prospect and the TES, and has appeared on Nightwaves and In Our Time. He is the author of several books on philosophy, including What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (Granta), Making Sense: Philosophy Behind the Headlines (OUP) and Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP).

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Is anything so self-evident that it cannot be doubted? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Cold_Water on 31 Oct 2005
Format: Hardcover
Overall I enjoyed this book. The idea of using a hypothetical scenario as an introduction to a great philosophical idea or problem is a good one as it does not require the reader to have any previous knowledge or understanding of the subject. This means that anyone can pick this book up and immediately be introduced with ease to a subject they previously knew nothing about.
The wide range of scenarios and ideas presented is also useful as it means if you are not interested in one thing on offer there is likely to be something else for you. As well, it also means that if you have read about something before and know a bit about it this book does not feel like re-visited territory. The sceanarios that are linked to each other are referenced at the end of each segment so if you are interested in that specific theme then you can go straight to the next thought experiment without having to read through a load of others first, which is another useful feature.
The only thing about this book I was vaguely dissatisfied with was the because of the huge number of ideas presented here sometimes it felt like you were just being offered a taste of a much larger subject when you wanted to know more about it. Because of the very nature of the book I realise that this should be the way the ideas are presented but occasionally this meant it was slightly unfufilling to read.
However, it has prompted me to go on and read more about those areas I was interested in so perhaps it did a great job after all! If you do not know much about philosophy and are keen to get a broad, easily accessable overview then this book is excellent. However, if you already know what you are interested in and like to learn about in it any great depth this book is not designed for you. Pretty good though - interesting and provoking.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 5 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
Douglas Adams posed many a philosophical question in his works. For some, the most hilarious - or disturbing, was the meal that introduced itself and recommended certain portions for consumption. In a society fully detached from the processing of living flesh into oven-ready tidbits, Adams portrayal of "the pig that wants to be eaten" seems outlandish. Yet, is there truly a moral issue in developing a food that not only embraces the opportunity to be consumed, but has the capacity to help the diner choose the more desireable cut. ?
Julian Baggini poses this and ninety-nine other questions in this tantalising collection. Many of the topics he raises have been with us for millennia - remaining unresolved today. The author draws the old questions to centre stage, clad in modern finery and make-up. The new appearance helps bring the reader into the questions with a greater sense of comfort, one hopes. But when the last line has been read, it's clear that this isn't just an entertaining recasting of old conundrums, but of serious issues we confront daily. Reading them all in one go could be dangerous to your mental health!
Many readers will have encountered these issues previously: if your brain is transplanted to another body, are you still you? Or if that bastion of "consciousness" is instead placed in a vat of nutrients and wired into a computer that feeds it sensory information, are you still "real"? If your ATM grants you ten thousand dollars when you asked for a hundred, are you "morally bound" to return it [assuming the bank's auditors can't track where it went]? On a lighter note, we might consider whether a sculpture produced by Nature is a work of art. If it is, who sets a value on it? How much would you pay for it?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Vernon on 16 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a book of a 100 `thought experiments' to provoke us into thinking - thinking about moral and philosophical issues. Each chapter presents a story, often developed from the ideas of a famous philosopher such as Plato, Descartes, Berkeley, Rawls or from more populist authors such as Philip Dick and Douglas Adams. Baggini then discussed the issue raised in a few paragraphs, so that each chapter is exactly 3 pages long and the book 300 pages long.

I first met Julian Baginni at a `Sea of Faith' conference - or rather I heard a talk of his on `Selfhood', without talking to him personally. His lecture was entertaining and approachable, yet touched on profound issues. So I was inclined to buy one of his (several) books when browsing in a bookshop a few months ago.

The format of the book encourages you to pick it up and put it down at short intervals, while one digests the individual chapters. At first I thought it slightly lightweight. Some of the thought experiments did not quite work for me - maybe I chafed against the necessary restrictions and unreality of artificial, fanciful `thought experiment' situations. I could see that some raised important and tricky issues, but then felt unsatisfied by the mere few paragraphs that Baggini used to cover the issue, leaving many things unresolved. I even put the book down for a few weeks (though that is a common thing I do, since I often read many books in parallel).

When I picked it up again, I found familiar issues returning with a fresh perspective, and further commentary. I started to follow the connections to other chapters he suggests, and re-read earlier ones. I started to make notes on the book. Themes started to emerge from the mist.
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