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Introductory philosophy themed around coffee,
This review is from: Coffee - Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate (Paperback)
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This is a slightly odd collection of introductory philosophical essays, probably pitched more or less at the A-level crowd, themed around drinking coffee. The writing is uniformly professional across the sixteen contributing authors, which speaks for the quality of the editing. The topics range from the existence of God to the superiority of one brand over another. All this is written from a philosophical rather than practical perspective. There are some decent end-notes at the end of each chapter, and, if it does nothing else, it will alert an enquiring reader (at least obliquely) to some of the main trends and writings in philosophy.
Although the book bills itself as a 'penetrating analysis of coffee and its surrounding culture', it really is nothing of the kind. Rather, it's a series of slightly laconic attempts to draw the reader into thinking about philosophy from the perspective of starting with coffee. Some of the essays stick to their starting point, others go everywhere else.
Perhaps it sounds like I didn't like this book. Actually, I did. It was fun and entertaining, and the authorial voices are enticing and compelling. But, like many undergraduate conversations, these essays seem to proceed in the absence of facts and research about their actual subject. You won't learn a great deal about coffee, its effects or methods of preparation by reading this, and many of the questions posited in these musings could be actually answered by a bit of primary research, or, failing that, a trawl through the internet.
Given that others in this series are Wine and Philosophy: A Symposium on Thinking and Drinking (Philosophy for Everyone) and Gardening: Philosophy for Everyone: Cultivating Wisdom, you can see where this is all going.
I think this would make an ideal birthday present for someone who likes coffee, and who likes philosophy (but not too much -- they will find the essays a bit shallow if they really do know about academic philosophy). Probably the others in the series would make great birthday presents for other such (gardeners, mothers, climbers, cannabis smokers).
At the end of the day, a nice thing to have, but just not quite my cup of tea.