The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher

Julian Baggini, Author
Julian Baggini, Author . Plume $14 (306p) ISBN 978-0-452-28744-0
Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
Hardcover - 306 pages - 978-1-86207-748-5
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-1-84708-128-5
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-08322-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-1-101-08916-3
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-09807-3
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For Stelios, the teletransporter is the only way to travel." So begins one of the 100 philosophically based brain teasers in Baggini's clever book. Each entry includes an imagined scenario, which is based on sources from Plato to Sir Bernard Williams, followed by commentary that introduces a series of mind-bending questions and broadens the possible contexts: e.g., if Stelios's body is disintegrated and then recomposed by the transporter, is Stelios still the same person he was? Is it ever ethical to eat animals, even if they want to be eaten? Is there really an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God? Is it right to do something wrong if it doesn't hurt anyone? Is torture ever a good option? Baggini, the editor of the U.K.'s Philosopher's Magazine , offers no firm answers, only hints as to where the discussion might go next. The conceit of the volume forces some repetitiveness and some simplification, but overall, it effectively explores aesthetics, ethics, language, logic, religion, mind and the self. More importantly, it's hugely entertaining. Any one of these thought experiments would serve as a great party game, keeping the conversation going for hours. (July)

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