Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Moana - Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now



on 30 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Julian Baggini is one of our most accessible- and dare I say it- level headed philosophers and it makes a great deal of sense for him to write what is basically a philosophy 'primer,' although having said that, there's much to commend this great little book to those who have already dived into philosophical waters, as it's an excellent round-up and straight-forward descriptor of the discipline's essential structures.

It covers an incredible number of bases in its 130 pages or so, and so is also a great point from which the reader can launch themselves into further study of areas that particularly interest them, whether that be the philosophy of politics, aesthetics or ethics.

I particularly liked his analysis of free will, which gave me an insight into it that I hadn't really got my head around before, but his approach [and explanation] was simple, refreshing and thought-provoking. As is indeed, most of this book is.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 December 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a first-class pocket sized guide to the basics of philosophy, explaining how the discipline developed from the early thinkers, linking together the different areas.

Julian Baggini shows how science as we know it developed from philosophy, tackles the value of art, the essence of morality and other areas that form the subject as a whole.

Books on philosophy - even some supposedly popular guides - can be notoriously unreadable; written as they are by deeply intellectual abstract thinkers.

Julian Baggini shows in this little book just why he is one of the leading philosophic authors. Complex ideas are distilled with clarity, in a lucid, flowing style.
For anyone who would like to dip their toe into philosophy and isn't sure where to start, this is a very good book to do so.

As with the other 'All That Matters' books, there's an excellent 100 ideas that give ways of exploring the subject in more depth - including the five best philosophical one liners, one of which is the story of Professor AJ Ayer squaring up to Mike Tyson.

Highly recommended.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book starts with an interesting section on Aristotle, Pluto, etc, but then falls into the realms of destroyer of worlds. It becomes obvious that the author doesn't believe that philosophy (after Aristotle) has anything to offer us in the modern world. I disagree.

Even in my profession (in psychology) we are open to philosophy, as it is an important way of thinking, an individual's philosophy can tell you a significant amount about the person.

The author, Julian Baggini, floats over many of the philosophers and concentrates on those who now believe that "philosophy is dead" (Stephen Hawking).

The beginning does, however, make an interesting jump point for anyone interested in the philosophy of Aristotle.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 4 July 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a fairly short book and it is very easy to read - it fairly races past and the big ideas keep coming and drawing you in. This is in effect, the exact opposite of the traditional, academic approach to studying Philosophy.

If you start an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, you will be told in no uncertain terms that it is not about the "Meaning Of Life" and you will study the history of the subject from Plato and Aristotle through to the "giants" of the 19th and 20th Century. You will study a large number of long and complex books, along the lines of Being and Time.

Julian Baggini takes a very different approach and attempts to draw in the enquiring reader, through organising his book around the "Big Ideas" of Philosophy and while history isn't entirely ignored; he jumps around across the centuries and passes over large chunks in order to provide a clearer picture.

In other hands, this could be a disaster, but Baggini is indeed both "lucid and accessible" throughout - the way he writes is authoritative, but it's very clear that this is his own personal view. So, he tells us that Hume and Aristotle are his heroes.

This allows the book to be condensed, yet meaningful. He draws you along with him as he tries to enthuse you about the importance of Philosophy. Far from ignoring the question of "the Meaning of Life" he wants to say that it is doing Philosophy which provides us with meaning. He starts by saying that asking the questions of Philosophy is really what marks us out from the other animals and concludes by saying that it is Philosophy that can make us feel our lives have any meaning.

Of course the latter is down to his own personal position of atheism and he thereby is able to ignore huge swathes of Philosophy that have been devoted to Religion over the previous centuries. In fact he is selling us Philosophy as a kind of alternative to Religion. Philosophy can give us an approach to ethics and morality that doesn't depend on any beliefs, but rather on rational analysis.

Given that large areas are ignored, this is obviously intended as more of a jumping-off point to further exploration. The books ends with a "100 ideas" section, which is like a further reading list and does include some books - but also places to visit, films and plays to see, websites to look up etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and Baggini's style of writing. But I can see it is a personal take on the subject which might not appeal to everyone. What comes across is his huge enthusiasm for the subject and how it can be an enyoyable exercise. The book is well-presented, with a logical format and layout.

On the back of the book it says : "What's the Point of it all?" - well, Baggini may not actually answer that - but he has fun trying!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 4 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Interesting that Baggini's book has more four stars than five and now I've added to that total. He writes in an easy to read conversational style but I found it just a bit too simple. Missing, for me, were more examples of complex issues applied to everyday life. There are several scenarios presented where individuals (sometimes the philosophers) or groups have to make choices according to what they believe and this is a practical way of explaining a concept and I wish there were more of them throughout the book. Maybe the publisher's remit was just to make it simple.

I think the value of the text is to provide a stepping-stone for the curious to want to know more, if it does that Baggini will have succeeded. The next step might be Simon Blackburn's The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Paperback Reference) or dive in the deep-end with the The Oxford Companion To Philosophy Isbn 0198661320.

Incidentally, I wish the publishers had been a bit more rigorous in checking the book's design. The page numbers and book title are set sideways on each page, the text typeface is uninspiring and each paragraph has one-and-half line space which means that on more than half the spreads the columns don't line with each other at bottom of the page. There are some illustrations in the book but they are not referred to in the text or mentioned in the index. Portraits of the mentioned philosophers would have made more sense.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Philosophy: All That Matters is an excellent introduction to philosophy from an Aristotelian perspective. It is a reasonable introduction to philosophy of science. And, sadly, it is a poor introduction to other aspects of metaphysics.

After a lucid and compelling section on Plato and Aristotle, Julian Baggini comes up short on quotations from Stephen Hawking that "Philosophy is dead" and from Lewis Wolpert that philosophy has taught us nothing which we wouldn't otherwise know. Somehow, after being so clear cut on the Greeks, Baggini starts to dither, offering us a variety of plausible reasons why we should still be interested in philosophy, but not much to convince a sceptical scientist. Part of the problem -- I fear -- is that, in his gentle style, Baggini has only insisted in the first section that Plato and Aristotle are plausible, and therefore has little in the way of weapons to fight a purely a posteriori inductive science. That he skates over Popper's contribution and fixes his attention on Kuhn doesn't really help.

He fares little better on religion, aesthetics, moral philosophy and political philosophy. On religion, he ascribes to all religion a counter-reformation view of falsifiability, and fails to distinguish between that which is disproven (the ontological argument) and others which are simply unfashionable. On aesthetics, he concludes: "I find aesthetics to be at one and the same time one of the most interesting and one of the most pointless branches of philosophy." This, rather sadly, is a fairly good summary of that chapter. As he turns to politics, the influence of Plato and Aristotle becomes steadily more oppressive, with essentially no time given to anything after Hobbes and Rousseau.

I am personally convinced that philosophy has a lot to offer the modern world, and that stronger answers are available to the challenges of Hawking and Wolpert. Unfortunately, having explicitly stated the objections, this 'All that matters' fails to answer them adequately, and the book's decline from that point is inevitable.

Verdict: this is a book about Aristotelian philosophy -- as the author cheerfully admits. For the questions that Aristotle answers well, it has good answers. For later questions, and more searching ones, it does not have a great deal to offer.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 21 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A well written primer on philosophy. The 'all that matters' series of which this is a part have a great design and useful fold out front covers to use to mark a page. The book has a modern feel and a fresh look.

You won't be able to write any essays from this book, but if you are looking into philosophy and are trying to find out whether to study it this is the sort of book which might whet your appetite.
It will introduce you to a few of the philosophical issues and a lot of the big names to look for in the library. I am of the opinion that most people would benefit from a 'background' book like this.

This is written in a style that most people will find accessible and very few people will be put off by.

Be aware though that the author seems to be a little biased against religion, which is neither necessary nor helpful, but then I have read a number of philosophers who have tended to have a high view of their own beliefs. In those areas I took what he said with a large pinch of salt, just as I would if he had been expressing a racist view.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like the "All That Matters" series of books and this one on Philosophy is up to standard. The subjects covered by the range will give you an idea of where they are coming from: Muhammad, Water, Political Philosophy, Sustainability, God, Intelligence, Love, Russian Revolution, War, and Creativity, are also available in this format.

Although the books are really just a taster for the subject covered rather than literally all that matters, they still offer a good overview and introduction to the subject. Julian Baggini is well known in his field and contributes to a number of magazines, newspapers and the BBC and has written quite a few other works on this subject. Amazon has provided one of its useful "Look Inside" features for this edition so you can get a feel for what is covered.

This is an inexpensive introduction to a fascinating subject which can help you to understand the subtleties of Monty Python! All together "...... John Stuart Mill, of his own free will, on half a pint of shandy was particularly ill. Plato, they say, could stick it away; half a crate of whiskey every day......"
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 3 July 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a brief run-down of the histoy and formation of the schools of thought within phillosophy. Summarising the central tenets and conflicting ideals of the different attitudes. Weighing in at 136 widely-margined A5 pages, this is too short to do anything but scrape the surface of different concepts but ultimately, it's enough to provoke intriuge and further reading, any book that is capable of that is worthy of some time. Recommended!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 24 March 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a starting point to thinking about Philosophy this is a nice little book (only about 140 pages) for a novice to begin with. Nothing is too deep, nor too obscure, most of the main topics are introduced and many of the main protagonists are mentioned.

The language is accessible and non-technical, yet concise, and the progression through the eleven main sections gently leads us into the thinking modes more appropriate to Philosophy. Someone well versed in the art will think the book elementary, but most of the rest of us should find it useful.

At the end is a '100 Ideas' appendix provided as a basis for further thought; it is perhaps a more accessible way to continue exploring the subject than the usual dry list of references.

I found the layout and presentation awkward, and the silly flappy cover kept getting in the way of reading (some glue fixed it), but the content is good and worth persevering for.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)