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Reality: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 24 Nov 2011
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About the Author
Jan Westerhoff read Philosophy and Oriental Studies at the universities of Cambridge and London. He is currently Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Durham.
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In relatively few pages, this very short introduction manages to bring forth some of the most enduring problems that have stymied philosophers, scientists, and other thinkers for centuries. The book is divided into four chapters, each of which addresses one aspect of our understanding of reality. The chapters are: 1. Dreams and simulations, 2. Is matter real?, 3. Are persons real?, 4. Is time real? These chapters provide a general overview of the topics that have framed our discussion about reality. The author relies on variety of disciplines for his assertions and findings, but the primary source of ideas about reality come from physics, philosophy, and psychology. In a sense, these disciplines may be though of as representing three aspects of reality that we encounter in all aspects of our lives: psychological, physical, and metaphysical. The weight that we assign to each one of these aspects will probably depend on our own ways that we think of reality, but it is fair to say that all of them play a fundamental and important role.
This book is very well written and all explanations are lucid and clear. However, this is not a book that you can easily wade through. The nature of reality is a complex subject, and the means of analyzing it and the kinds of arguments that this analysis employs require a reasonably high level of intellectual discipline and appreciation for abstract thinking. If you are willing to invest some of it, then after reading this short book you'll come away with a renewed sense of appreciation for the world that we live in at its most fundamental level.
The Very Short Introductions are packed with very interesting revelations and awaken a "real" fascination with a subject that goes so much further - well-written and informative, I got far more from this (and the other one I bought, Nothing) than I thought I would, it was imaginatively presented and gave an awful lot of information for such a small book on such a complex subject.
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