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on 20 December 2011
I am only a teenager,(I don't read extremely complex/ degree level books etc.) but this book is very easy to read and to understand. It is split up into 50 sections on the topics: 'Problems of knowledge', 'Mind matters', 'Ethics', 'Animal Rights', 'Logic and meaning', 'Science', 'Aesthetics', 'Religion' and 'Politics, Justice and Society'. These sub-heading allow you to read how you wish (read what you want to read).
At the beginning of every 'Idea' there is a short paragraph that summarizes the 'Idea', this is so helpful.
I read 1 'Idea' a night before I go to bed and only 1 so that from the time when I finish the section to the time I fall asleep I can think about the 'Idea'. Unlike most people of my age I look forward to reading this book and opening my mind. This book gives you a different perspective of life and the world around you, it's mind-blowing!
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on 29 June 2009
Studying for a psychology degree, one of our modules was philosophy. This book was fantastic to help me understand philiosophy, it gives you the basics in a readable understandable format, and gives you a good understanding of philosophy before you hit the hard stuff. All round this book made philosophy for me a pleasurable and understandable subject and spurned me on to read more. Had I picked up a philosophy text first i probably would have cried. Thank You Ben Dupre, you sold philosophy to me.

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on 28 March 2008
This book presents the reader with 50 short and to-the-point essays on philosophy ideas. Dupre draws upon significant published works and discusses the meaning of them, also comparing the differences between older and newer studies. I found it to be well written with useful factual information, as well as specualtion on the thoughts and arguments that arise before and after a new idea is put forward. I was pleased to note that there is no hint of bias toward any particular school of thought, and empiricism, realism, dualism, naturalism, consequentialism...etc are all refered to in a relevant manner. I have little knowledge of philosophy but the essays reached out to me and I was able to understand them easily (and give them a lot of thought!). A wonderful starting point for students, beginners or anyone with a slight interest in how we think about life, the universe and everything.
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on 7 January 2011
I loved reading this book, it's the sort of book you can pull off the shelf when you hit a slump, open the book at random and read up on any one of philosophy's big ideas. 'The writing style is easy going yet informative, no pretensions here, just good skill at getting the ideas across in an accessible format.

Brains in vats, aesthetics, religion, epistemology, a wide cross section of philosophy is covered and if nothing else this book will offer the reader an even greater appreciation of what philosophy can do and it's vital importance in the world.

Too much attention is paid to science, which gives us toys such as genetic babies, but cant answer whether we should actually choose to have genetic babies, that's where philosophy comes in.

Cracking, must read book for fun, inspiration or even a little escapism.
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on 16 June 2011
This book should have taken me two days to read, but kept my attention for six months! Not a book for academic study perhaps, but a brilliantly written and entertaining book, in a most interesting format. Having introduced each topic with wit and clarity, the author compares and contrasts the various strands of philosophical argument and gives examples from popular culture, which even a layman such as me can understand and relate to.

For those wishing to initiate themselves into thinking about the meaning of things in greater depth, but wishing to be entertained as well, this is the book. Be prepared to return to the same passage or chapter several times over, as you find yourself debating the issue and changing your mind every time you read it!
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on 19 May 2009
A fascinating - and more to the point, enjoyable - collection of 50 essays, each spanning 4 pages and accompanied with various sidepanels, quotations and notes. From slippery slopes to the prisoner's dilemma, from the cosmological argument to animal rights, Dupré brings a welcome clarity to questions that we should all care about. If you're looking for an accessible introduction to the ideas of Plato, Descartes, Hume and other influential thinkers throughout history, and if you don't know your consequentialist from your deontologist, this is a superb starting point.
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on 14 February 2012
This review is of the Kindle version of this book. The content, book, writing etc - no complaints, plenty of reviews here will cover that.
HOWEVER, it just does not work on a Kindle.

Point 1 - The author constantly refers you to pages in the book - you can't search for these, the Kindle version has no page numbers. Bad.

Point 2 - Page formatting is poor, text quality is poor due to the need to try and see the width of a whole page.
I had to read this book with my Kindle rotated 90 degrees.

Point 3 - Graphics - the timelines made no sense unless you rotated the page 90 degrees and the selected the smallest font size to get it all on the page.

Unless you intend to buy the hardcopy and have the Kindle version for reference it's useless and hard to read.
I would not buy this for Kindle if I had the choice, and there will be more books out there that are the same.
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on 12 June 2009
This is an excellent introductory to anyone who wishes to study philosophy. It is a well-rounded and clearly thought out collective of philosophical ideas.
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on 19 October 2013
I have been reading philosophy books on and off for about 30 years. Many of them are fascinating but dense and a struggle to understand. A couple stand out for clarity, engaging you with ideas, making you think. Top of the list would have to be Hofstadter and Dennett's 'The Minds' I', no longer published; but I think I would have to put this one second, which is high praise indeed. My very first incursion into philosophy, as a teenager wondering what the subject was about and strangely attracted to it, was Wittgenstein's Tractatus, picked at random from the philosophy section of the library. That was almost enough to make me decide the subject wasn't for me. There are many original works like that, which an interested newcomer should stay away from, to come back to later with some knowledge and mental tools under their belt. It is hard to recommend a really good overview of what philosophy is about though, now that The Mind's I is not available. Now I have one to recommend. If you don't know much about philosophy and want to get a very good introduction, this is it. The other really good books for non-philosophers (a further reading for this book, perhaps) would include 'The Philosopher's Toolkit' by Fosl and Baggini; 'Think' by Simon Blackburn; 'The problems of philosophy' by Bertrand Russell; and The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy by Simon Blacburn.
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on 2 September 2009
Every section in this book is well-written, clear, balanced and will cause you to think. And as the title of this review says, you can easily read a short section and come back to the book later without losing any value - although to be honest, the book is so well-written you won't want to stop reading and thinking!
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