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On Desire: Why We Want What We Want Paperback – 18 Jun 2007
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"A program of illumination whose goal is to help the reader 'master desire.' That human life depends on desire, or is at the least inseparable from it, Irvine does not dispute, but his purpose is not to glorify this essence that artists celebrate. Exposes 'the secret life of desire': how we experience our wants, from those for basic animal requirements, like food, to abstract goals―the esteem of our fellows, for example―that may feel as necessary as food to complicated creatures who cannot live by bread alone."―The New York Times Book Review
"William B. Irvine has written a disarmingly seductive and easily readable treatise on the origins, nature, vicissitudes, and 'crises' of desire. He simply and clearly discusses biologically instilled incentive systems, the rich psychological research on the peculiarities of our motivation, and the wisdom of various religious and spiritual traditions. It is a well-informed, wise, informal interdisciplinary book that is highly recommended for the general reader."―Robert C. Solomon, author of The Passions, About Love, The Joy of Philosophy, Not Passion's Slave, and In Defense of Sentimentality
"What is delightful about this book is that the usual suspects are not as conspicuous. Instead, the Shakers are discussed alongside Buddha, and Diogenes adjacent to Thoreau.... With clear writing, backed up by careful exegesis and a unique twist to a common thesis, this work is necessary for most undergraduate collections, and for students of philosophy and happiness. Summing Up: Highly recommended."―Choice
"A sprightly and entertaining book.... Those who would like to understand and control some of their desires will be glad to find this book on the library shelf."―Library Journal
"Irvine has given us a very engaging book on what desire is: how central it is to human existence, what science has to tell us about it, and what we can do with it and about it. He combines knowledge, wisdom and wit with a light but sure philosophical touch."―John Perry, Professor of Philosophy, Stanford University
"A sweeping review of philosophical, psychological, evolutionary, and religious concepts of desire. The writing is lucid and economical."―PsycCRITIQUES
About the Author
William B. Irvine is Professor of Philosophy at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio.
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Top Customer Reviews
More could have been made of the nature of consciousness and desire perhaps. Conversely, the rather obvious fact that our desires are determined by evolution is expounded at excessive length.
Irvine seems to be a teacher of American undergraduates and this book is at that level..so if you want an intro in this area this will probably be a good read. If you are looking for something meatier and already know something of evolution, psychology, the major religions and classical philosophy then you will soon be skimming through.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting subject killed, skinned and butchered by a man who insists upon waffling for the sake of waffling. Read morePublished on 17 May 2014 by Sam
I am becoming a fan of William irvine! I first read his book about the philosophy of the Stoics and got hooked on his fantastic humour and how some simple ideas can help us live a... Read morePublished on 18 Mar. 2014 by Ponchito Tello