17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The Reason of Things,
This review is from: The Reason of Things: Living with Philosophy (Paperback)Lord Acton wrote that we should learn as much from our writing as we do from our reading. Grayling, in this set of essays, inspires us to think, to learn, and hopefully to write. In one of the later essays (actually on The Essay) he provides a brief history of this genre and lists some of the great exponents. This collection is sound evidence of Grayling's right to join his hero Hazlitt as an essayist of the first order.
Grayling is at his best when promoting the liberal cause and when writing on liberal virtues. He exposes a great deal of cant and hypocrisy in what is said and written about a wide range of issues. My own view is that he lets himself down when writing on religion and religious matters. He shows that intolerance and bigotry can mar the writing of a humanist as easily as that of a Christian or Muslim. The mark of the liberal is to judge each individual by the good or bad he or she does rather than by the label he or she wears.
In this selection, Grayling includes an account of how he came to philosophy. He was fortunate to discover Plato and then other great authors in his early teens. Grayling's books in turn could prove an ideal introduction for teenagers today into rational ways of discussing some of life's big questions. I was going to write that I hope some schools will adopt them as texts for personal and social development programmes, but perhaps that would be a sure way of having them rejected. Far better that young people discover these books themselves as an addition to football, playstations, and (as in Grayling's day) kissing in the back row of the cinema. Perhaps Amazon can slip them into recommendation lists for teenagers.
I enjoyed this second set of essays and look forward to the imminent release of collection three - The Mystery of Things.