The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions: A Philosophical Adventure with the World's Great Thinkers

Nicholas Fearn, Author
Nicholas Fearn, Author . Grove $24 (225p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1839-4
Reviewed on: 10/16/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Paperback - 225 pages - 978-0-8021-4347-1
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-55584-632-9
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From Plato to Colin McGinn, thinkers have addressed the same set of core questions, making philosophy an enduring human science through imagination and debate. This book—concisely organized into three parts titled "Who Am I?" "What Do I Know?" and "What Should I Do?"—reviews not just the latest work on these age-old questions, but also the journey between ancient and modern philosophy. But where the title promises adventure, the broad overview obscures the quirky characters and theories that give life to today's great ideas. Further, Fearn seems unable to decide what kind of narrator he wants to be: he'll appear suddenly out of synthetic prose to interview—or to fail to interview—one of his more than 30 subjects. One of his stranger encounters is with Jacques Derrida: "Although he is renowned for his charm, I am unable to give a personal account of Derrida since he declined to be interviewed, and woke me up with a phone call at 7:30 a.m. to tell me so." In this way, the book certainly has its moments, especially in the later chapters, but too often loses momentum. (Jan.)

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