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The Pig That Wants to be Eaten: And Ninety-Nine Other Thought Experiments Paperback – 4 Mar 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847081282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847081285
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘It is a remarkably addictive read, like a bag of mental fun-size treats’ -- The Big Issue

‘This book makes philosophy not only mind-stretching but also entertaining’ -- Book Time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 regularly appears on Radio 4 He is the author of several books on philosophy, including What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (Granta).


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If, like me, you agree that 'philosophy's a clever word for not enough to do' (Mitch Benn) or believe that 'philosophers spend their time giving advice to people who are happier than they are' (Tom Lehrer), this book will shatter your preconceptions. It's fun, thought-provoking and great for dipping in and out of. All the 'biggies are there' from Descartes to Zeno, from Jean-Paul Sartre to Bertrand Russell, but it is the clarity, simplicity and humour of the book which sells the subject, bringing in everything from Coronation Street to Big Brother to the ultimate nightmare England manager Glenn Robson-Keeganson. It not only makes philosophy, morality and ethics enjoyable but - and this sounds barely believable - succeeds in making them seem relevant...easier said than done in today's world. The expression 'it makes you think' has been reduced to a cliche these days, but here it really does apply. Buy it - you won't be disappointed!
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Format: Paperback
This has been, for a few months, my "coffee table book". It is one I have close by in the living room and dip into from time to time. As the subtitle “(and 99 other thought experiments)” implies, there are 100 little scenarios put forward, each of which takes about 3 pages to fill. First, there is a statement of the issue and then Baggini gives us some brief thoughts on the matter.

So it's great to look at for 5-10 minutes and have a little think, if you get such pockets of time available at points dotted through a day. What it isn't is a book to sit down and read cover to cover over a rainy weekend. The shortness of each section shouldn't deceive you, Baggini doesn't just provide food for thought, he gives us a taster menu taken from a wide range of (mostly) western philosophy, ranging from Plato to Chomsky, taking in the likes of George Berkeley, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Soren Kierkegaard and David Hume along the way, along with some ideas taken from modern fiction, including Philip K Dick and, of course, Douglas Adams, whose idea gave rise to the title of this work.

The idea is not really for Baggini to pontificate (though he does this on occasion) but for him to oil your mental gears and get the reader thinking. If that is his aim, he does, for the most part, an excellent job. Some other reviewers of the book seemed to miss this point entirely, as they were disappointed he didn't go into more depth. While I think that theirs is an invalid criticism, there are others which are more pertinent.

For one, the whole approach of the book is to look at philosophy, predominantly moral philosophy, at the boundaries of possible experience.
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