The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century

A. C. Grayling, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $27.5 (275p) ISBN 978-0-297-84819-6
The cause of the emptiness and dissatisfaction plaguing many Westerners, distinguished British philosophy professor Grayling laments, is a lack of thoughtful reflection, something he aims to correct with these brief essays, presented so as to gently nudge readers into pursuing the philosophical discourse that Grayling promises will fulfill them. Touching on down-to-earth topics like money, marriage, infidelity, jurisprudence, as well as large ideas like the relationship between art, society and civilization, Grayling expertly summarizes the arguments of great thinkers and provides contemporary examples-such as the current obesity epidemic as it relates to self-restraint and the patronizing attitude of the United States toward less powerful countries in his treatise on empire-in discussing his themes. Grayling's strong opinions on contentious subjects like religion (""If only all the gods in whose name people currently kill one another would cremate themselves and thus liberate mankind from the bane of religion"") and monogamy (having multiple partners, he contends, ""widens and deepens experience in an area whose health is essential to the life well lived"") might prove disagreeable to some readers, but his declarations are designed to incite conversation. This collection is suitable for readers beginning to explore philosophy and will undoubtedly pique their interest in the many great thinkers and texts referenced throughout.
Reviewed on: 01/02/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
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