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All Gall Is Divided

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"An antidote to a world gone mad for bedside affirmation"--Washington Post.

E. M. Cioran has been called the last worthy disciple of Nietzsche and "a sort of final philosopher of the Western world" who "combines the compassion of poetry and the audacity of cosmic clowning" (Washington Post).

All Gall Is Divided is the second book Cioran published in French after moving from his native Romania and establishing himself in Paris. It revealed him as an aphorist in a long tradition descending from the ancient Greeks through La Rochefoucault but with a gift for lacerating, subversively off-kilter insights, a twentieth-century nose for the absurdities of the human condition, and what Baudelaire called "spleen."

The aphorisms collected here address themes from the atrophy of utterance and the condition of the West to the abyss, solitude, time, religion, music, the vitality of love, history, and the void. The award-winning poet and translator Richard Howard has characterized them as "manic humor, howls of pain, and a vestige of tears," but, as he notes too, in these expressions of the philosopher's existential estrangement, there glows "a certain sweetness for all of what Cioran calls 'amertume.'"

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9781948924238
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Amateur

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A radical manifesto about doing what you love

Andy Merrifield offers a passionate tribute to the revolutionary spirit of the amateur--a figure who thinks outside the box, takes risks, dreams the impossible dream, seeks independence, and carves out a new world. Merrifield celebrates such square pegs as Charles Baudelaire, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edward Said, Guy Debord, Hannah Arendt, and Jane Jacobs, each of whom shows us a path of unconventional wisdom and freedom.

The Amateur advocates urgently for the liberated life, one that creates the space to question authority.

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9781786631077
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Ancient Greek Philosophers

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"Philosophy begins in wonder."
--Plato

Have you ever wondered about the development of civilization? What topics were discussed in the days of Ancient Greece? This collection of thoughts from Plato, Aristotle, and other masters of philosophy will lead your mind on a journey of enlightened exploration into ethics, morality, law, medicine, and more. With an introduction by a distinguished scholar of classic literature, this beautiful Canterbury Classics bonded-leather volume with gilded edges and specially designed endpapers is sure to be a favorite keepsake edition in your library.

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9781684125531
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Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life

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From renowned classicist Edith Hall, ARISTOTLE'S WAY is an examination of one of history's greatest philosophers, showing us how to lead happy, fulfilled, and meaningful lives

Two thousand years ago, Aristotle wrote the most important book on happiness. The first philosopher to inquire into subjective happiness, he understood its essence better and more clearly than anyone since. Most importantly, Aristotle understood happiness as available to the vast majority of us, but only, crucially, if we decide to apply ourselves to its creation. According to Aristotle, happiness is not about well-being but instead is a lasting state of contentment, which should be the ultimate goal of human life. We become happy through finding a purpose, realizing our potential, and modifying our behavior to become the best version of ourselves. With these objectives in mind, Aristotle developed a humane program for becoming a happy person. Here, Professor Edith Hall shows how his timeless teachings are exactly what we need today to stride purposefully towards a life well lived. As Hall writes, "If you believe that the goal of human life is to maximize happiness, then you are a budding Aristotelian." In expert yet vibrant modern language, Hall lays out the crux of Aristotle's thinking, mixing affecting autobiographical anecdotes with a deep wealth of classical learning. For Hall, whose own life has been greatly improved by her understanding of Aristotle, this is an intensely personal subject. She distills his ancient wisdom into ten practical and universal lessons to help us confront life's difficult and crucial moments, summarizing a lifetime of the most rarefied and brilliant scholarship.

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9780735220829
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BE LIKE THE FOX

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Since the publication of The Prince five centuries ago, Machiavelli has been associated with political amorality. But that characterization is unfair. In Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner sets the record straight: far from the ruthless "Machiavellian" henchman that people think he was, Machiavelli emerges here as a profound ethical thinker who fought to uphold high moral standards and restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence.

Shaking the dust from history, Benner masterfully interweaves Machiavelli's words with those of his friends and enemies, giving us a biography with all the energy of fiction. Through dialogues and diaries, we witness dramatic episodes, including Savonarola's fiery sermons against the elite in Florence's piazza, Machiavelli's secret negotiations with Caterina Sforza at the court of Forli, and the Florentines' frantic preparations to resist Pope Julius's plan to over-throw their Republic.

Benner relates how Machiavelli rose as an advisor in the Florentine Republic, advancing the city's interests as a diplomat and military strategist, only to become a political pariah when the Republic was defeated. His egalitarian politics made him an enemy of the Medici family, and his secular outlook put him at odds with religious zealots. But he soon learned to mask his true convictions, becoming a great artist of foxlike dissimulation. Machiavelli's masterpiece, The Prince, was in fact a critique of princely power, but the critique had to be veiled, written as it was after the Medici triumphed over the Republic.

In Be Like the Fox, the most accurate and compelling portrait of Machiavelli yet, Benner recounts the gripping story of a brilliant political thinker, showing that Machiavelli's ideas--about democratic institutions, diplomacy, and freedom--are more important than ever.

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9780393355819
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Becoming Animal : An Earthly Cosmology

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David Abram's first book, "The Spell of the Sensuous"--hailed as "revolutionary" by the "Los Angeles Times, " as "daring and truly original" by "Science"--has become a classic of environmental literature. Now Abram returns with a startling exploration of our human entanglement with the rest of nature.
As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land. For too long we've inured ourselves to the wild intelligence of our muscled flesh, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance. This book subverts that distance, drawing readers ever deeper into their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the body and the breathing Earth.
The shapeshifting of ravens, the erotic nature of gravity, the eloquence of thunder, the pleasures of being edible: all have their place in Abram's investigation. He shows that from the awakened perspective of the human animal, awareness (or mind) is not an exclusive possession of our species but a lucid quality of the biosphere itself--a quality in which we, along with the oaks and the spiders, steadily participate.
With the audacity of its vision and the luminosity of its prose, "Becoming Animal" sets a new benchmark for the human appraisal of our place in the whole.

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9780375421716
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BOOK OF WOE

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An expose of the psychiatric professions bible from a leading psychotherapist, "The Book of Woe " reveals the deeply flawed process by which mental disorders are invented and uninvented--and why increasing numbers of therapy patients are being declared mentally ill.
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9780399158537
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Chronicles of a Liquid Society

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Umberto Eco was an international cultural superstar. In this, his last collection, the celebrated essayist and novelist observes the changing world around him with irrepressible curiosity and profound wisdom. He sees with fresh eyes the upheaval in ideological values, the crises in politics, and the unbridled individualism that have become the backdrop of our lives--a "liquid" society in which it's not easy to find a polestar, though stars and starlets abound.

In these pieces, written for his regular column in L'Espresso magazine, Eco brings his dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as popular culture and politics, being seen, conspiracies, the old and the young, new technologies, mass media, racism, and good manners. It is a final gift to his readers--astute, witty, and illuminating.

"A swan song from one of Europe's great intellectuals . . . [Eco] entertains with his intellect, humor, and insatiable curiosity." -- Kirkus Reviews

"An intelligent, intriguing, and often hilariously incisive set of observations on contemporary follies and changing mores." -- Publishers Weekly

"Chronicles of a Liquid Society is a wonderful reminder of a great writer, thinker, and human being." -- Toronto Star
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9781328505859
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Common Good

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Robert B. Reich makes a powerful case for the expansion of America's moral imagination. Rooting his argument in common sense and everyday reality, he demonstrates that a common good constitutes the very essence of any society or nation. Societies, he says, undergo virtuous cycles that reinforce the common good as well as vicious cycles that undermine it, one of which America has been experiencing for the past five decades. This process can and must be reversed. But first we need to weigh the moral obligations of citizenship and carefully consider how we relate to honor, shame, patriotism, truth, and the meaning of leadership.

Powerful, urgent, and utterly vital, this is a heartfelt missive from one of our foremost political thinkers.

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9780525436379
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Conscience

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In her brilliant work Touching a Nerve, Patricia S. Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, drew from scientific research on the brain to understand its philosophical and ethical implications for identity, consciousness, free will, and memory. In Conscience, she explores how moral systems arise from our physical selves in combination with environmental demands.

All social groups have ideals for behavior, even though ethics vary among different cultures and among individuals within each culture. In trying to understand why, Churchland brings together an understanding of the influences of nature and nurture. She looks to evolution to elucidate how, from birth, our brains are configured to form bonds, to cooperate, and to care. She shows how children grow up in society to learn, through repetition and rewards, the norms, values, and behavior that their parents embrace.

Conscience delves into scientific studies, particularly the fascinating work on twins, to deepen our understanding of whether people have a predisposition to embrace specific ethical stands. Research on psychopaths illuminates the knowledge about those who abide by no moral system and the explanations science gives for these disturbing individuals.

Churchland then turns to philosophy--that of Socrates, Aquinas, and contemporary thinkers like Owen Flanagan--to explore why morality is central to all societies, how it is transmitted through the generations, and why different cultures live by different morals. Her unparalleled ability to join ideas rarely put into dialogue brings light to a subject that speaks to the meaning of being human.

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9781324000891
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Courage of Hopelessness

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In THE COURAGE OF HOPELESSNESS, maverick philosopher Slavoj Zizek returns to explore today's ideological, political and economic battles, and asks whether radical change is possible.

In these troubled times, even the most pessimistic diagnosis of our future ends with an uplifting hint that things might not be as bad as all that, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, argues Slavoj Zizek, it is only when we have admitted to ourselves that our situation is completely hopeless - that the light at the end of the tunnel is in fact the headlight of a train - that fundamental change can be brought about.

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9781612190037
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Ecology, Ethics, and Interdependence

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Powerful conversations between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and leading scientists on the most pressing issue of our time.

Engage with leading scientists, academics, ethicists, and activists, as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Karmapa, who gathered in Dharamsala, India, for the twenty-third Mind and Life conference to discuss arguably the most urgent questions facing humanity today:
What is happening to our planet? What can we do about it? How do we balance the concerns of people against the rights of animals and against the needs of an ecosystem? What is the most skillful way to enact change? And how do we fight on, even when our efforts seem to bear no fruit?
Inspiring, edifying, and transformative, this should be required reading for any citizen of the world.

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9781614294948
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EMPEROR'S HANDBOOK

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In the tradition of The Art of Living and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations--a practical book of timeless advice from one of the most powerful individuals in history--available for the first time in a highly accessible translation, including several unique features for contemporary readers and users of daily wisdom guides.

Essayist Matthew Arnold described the man who wrote these words as "the most beautiful figure in history." Possibly so, but he was certainly more than that. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had corrupted many of his predecessors. Marcus knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances, of how to find happiness and peace when surrounded by misery and turmoil, and of how to choose the harder right over the easier wrong without apparent regard for self-interest.

The historian Michael Grant praises Marcus's book as "the best ever written by a major ruler," and Josiah Bunting, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, calls it "the essential book on character, leadership, duty." Never intended for publication, the Meditations contains the practical and inspiring wisdom by which this remarkable emperor lived the life not of a saintly recluse, but of a general, administrator, legislator, spouse, parent, and judge besieged on all sides.

The Emperor's Handbook offers a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature. It brings Marcus's words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book belongs on the desk and in the briefcase of every business executive, political leader, and military officer. It speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever exercised authority or faced adversity or believed in a better day.

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9780743233835
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Empire and the Five Kings

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One of the West's leading intellectuals offers a provocative look at America's withdrawal from world leadership and the rising powers who seek to fill the vacuum left behind.

The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western worldand to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognized their importance, at home and abroad.

But as Bernard-Henri Lévy lays bare in this powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Lévy shows how these five--Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni radical Islamism--are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization.

The Empire and the Five Kings is a cri de coeur that draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump's presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.

As seen on Real Time with Bill Maher (2/22/2019) and Fareed Zakaria GPS (2/17/2019).

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9781250203014
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Ethics

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An engaging, thought-provoking, illustrated analysis of the classical principles of ethics applied to everyday dilemmas.

Ethics: The Art of Character is the quintessential little book of big ideas. It draws on the work of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato--and on the words of Dante, Spinoza, Kant, Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Chuang Tzu.

Ethicist Gregory Beabout describes Aristotle's lectures as aimed, not at the young, but at listeners "experienced in life . . . with a desire to pursue the common good and in possession of a sense of what it is to live a beautiful, meaningful life." This wise little book contemplates the quest for courage, justice, temperance, wisdom, empathy, humility, and much more--timeless goals that also remain timely. A chapter on "Ethics in Real Life" invites the reader to explore two contemporary dilemmas and puzzle out the ethical choices when the situations "present a clear choice whether or not to do something that appears wrong, in order to avert an apparently greater evil." Featuring chapters on medical ethics, workplace ethics, and environmental ethics, Ethics: The Art of Character distills the wisdom of the ages into a sixty-four-page, unforgettable life lesson.

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9781635570830
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From Bacteria to Bach and Back

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How did we come to have minds? For centuries, poets, philosophers, psychologists, and physicists have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled abilities. Disciples of Darwin have explained how natural selection produced plants, but what about the human mind?

In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel C. Dennett builds on recent discoveries from biology and computer science to show, step by step, how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. A crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Competition among memes produced thinking tools powerful enough that our minds don't just perceive and react, they create and comprehend.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and scientists, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain all those curious about how the mind works.

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9780393355505
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Guide for the Perplexed

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From one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, and the author of the international bestseller Small Is Beautiful, the reissue of a timeless treatise on the meaning of living.

In A Guide for the Perplexed, bestselling author E. F. Schumacher explores our relation to the world: our obligations--to other people, to the earth, to progress and technology, but most importantly to ourselves. If man can fulfill these obligations, then and only then can he enjoy a truly authentic relationship with the world--and truly know the meaning of living.

Schumacher argues that we need maps: a "map of knowledge" and a "map of living." The concern of the mapmaker is to find for everything its proper place. For things out of place tend to get lost; they become invisible and their proper places are filled by other things that should not be there at all and therefore serve to mislead.

A Guide for the Perplexed teaches us to be our own map makers in following our destined path in life's journey.

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9780062414816
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Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche

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The great French Marxist philosopher weighs up the contributions of the three major critics of modernity

With the translation of Lefebvre's philosophical writings, his stature in the English-speaking world continues to grow. Though certainly within the Marxist tradition, he consistently saw Marx as an 'unavoidable, necessary, but insufficient starting point'. Unsurprisingly, Lefebvre always insisted on the importance of Hegel to understanding Marx. But the imposing Metaphilosophy also suggested the significance he ascribed to Nietzsche, in the 'realm of shadows' through which philosophy seeks to think the world. Lefebvre proposes here that the modern world is at the same time Hegelian in terms of the state; Marxist in terms of the social and society; and Nietzschean in terms of civilization and its values. As early as 1939, Lefebvre pioneered a French reading of Nietzsche that rejected the philosopher's appropriation by fascism, bringing out the tragic implications of Nietzsche's proclamation that 'God is dead' long before this approach was followed by such later writers as Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze. Forty years later, in the last of his philosophical writings, Lefebvre juxtaposes the contributions of the three great thinkers, in a text whose themes remain surprisingly relevant today.

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9781788733731
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Hiking with Nietzsche

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"A stimulating book about combating despair and complacency with searching reflection." --Heller McAlpin, NPR.org

Named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR. One of Lit Hub's 15 Books You Should Read in September and one of Outside's Best Books of Fall

A revelatory Alpine journey in the spirit of the great Romantic thinker Friedrich Nietzsche

Hiking with Nietzsche: Becoming Who You Are is a tale of two philosophical journeys--one made by John Kaag as an introspective young man of nineteen, the other seventeen years later, in radically different circumstances: he is now a husband and father, and his wife and small child are in tow. Kaag sets off for the Swiss peaks above Sils Maria where Nietzsche wrote his landmark work Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Both of Kaag's journeys are made in search of the wisdom at the core of Nietzsche's philosophy, yet they deliver him to radically different interpretations and, more crucially, revelations about the human condition.

Just as Kaag's acclaimed debut, American Philosophy: A Love Story, seamlessly wove together his philosophical discoveries with his search for meaning, Hiking with Nietzsche is a fascinating exploration not only of Nietzsche's ideals but of how his experience of living relates to us as individuals in the twenty-first century. Bold, intimate, and rich with insight, Hiking with Nietzsche is about defeating complacency, balancing sanity and madness, and coming to grips with the unobtainable. As Kaag hikes, alone or with his family, but always with Nietzsche, he recognizes that even slipping can be instructive. It is in the process of climbing, and through the inevitable missteps, that one has the chance, in Nietzsche's words, to "become who you are."

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9780374170011
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History of Philosophy

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The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy to cover both Western and Eastern traditions, from one of the world's most eminent thinkers

The story of philosophy is the story of who we are and why. An epic tale, spanning civilizations and continents, it explores some of the most creative minds in history. But not since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, published in 1945, has there been a comprehensive and entertaining single-volume history of this great, intellectual, world-shaping journey.

With characteristic clarity and elegance, A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the worldviews and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates through Christianity's capture of the European mind, from the Renaissance and Enlightenment on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre and, finally, philosophy today. Bringing together these many threads that all too often run parallel, he surveys in tandem the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world.

Accessible for students and revelatory to enthusiasts of philosophy, Grayling's narrative brings to life the work of both famous historical figures and less well-known but influential thinkers, bridging epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates within these areas of enquiry. He dramatizes the interchange between and within eras and epochs, making thrilling the grand dance of human thought. He asks what we have learned, but also what progress is still to be made.

Destined to be Grayling's magnum opus, and astonishing in its range and accessibility, this is a landmark work.

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9781984878748
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How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog

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Monty was just like any other dog. A scruffy and irascible Maltese terrier, he enjoyed barking at pugs and sniffing at trees. But after yet another dramatic confrontation with the local Rottweiler, Anthony McGowan realizes it's high time he and Monty had a chat about what makes him a good or a bad dog.

Taking his lead from Monty's canine antics, McGowan takes us on a hilarious and enlightening jaunt through the major debates of philosophy. Will Kant convince Monty to stop stealing cheesecake? How long will they put up with Socrates poking holes in every argument?

In this uniquely entertaining take on morality and ethics, the dutiful duo set out to uncover who--if anyone--has the right end of the ethical stick and can tell us how best to live one's life.

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9781643133119
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Humankind

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A radical call for solidarity between humans and non-humans

What is it that makes humans human? As science and technology challenge the boundaries between life and non-life, between organic and inorganic, this ancient question is more timely than ever. Acclaimed object-oriented philosopher Timothy Morton invites us to consider this philosophical issue as eminently political. In our relationship with nonhumans, we decide the fate of our humanity. Becoming human, claims Morton, actually means creating a network of kindness and solidarity with nonhuman beings, in the name of a broader understanding of reality that both includes and overcomes the notion of species. Negotiating the politics of humanity is the first crucial step in reclaiming the upper scales of ecological coexistence and resisting corporations like Monsanto and the technophilic billionaires who would rob us of our kinship with people beyond our species.

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9781786631329
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Hunger Mountain

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Come along with David Hinton on a series of walks through the wild beauty of Hunger Mountain, near his home in Vermont--excursions informed by the worldview he's imbibed from his many years translating the classics of Chinese poetry and philosophy. His broad-ranging discussion offers insight on everything from the mountain landscape to the origins of consciousness and the Cosmos, from geology to Chinese landscape painting, from parenting to pictographic oracle-bone script, to a family chutney recipe. It's a spiritual ecology that is profoundly ancient and at the same time resoundingly contemporary. Your view of the landscape--and of your place in it--may never be the same.
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9781611800166
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Know-It-All Society

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Winner - National Council of Teachers of English - George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language

The "philosopher of truth" (Jill Lepore, The New Yorker) returns with a clear-eyed and timely critique of our culture's narcissistic obsession with thinking that "we" know and "they" don't.

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9781631493614
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Lack & Transcendence

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David R. Loy draws from giants of psychotherapy and existentialism, from Nietzsche to Kierkegaard to Sartre, to explore the fundamental issues of life, death, and what motivates us.

Psychotherapy, existentialism, and Buddhism are all concerned with the same fundamental issues of life and death--and death-in-life. David R. Loy's groundbreaking claim is that the unifying feature connecting these perspectives is a sense of pervasive sense of dissatisfaction--or, in a word, lack. In Lack & Transcendence, he brings all three traditions together in a way that casts new light on each, as he draws from giants of psychotherapy, particularly Freud, Ernest Becker, Rollo May, Irvin Yalom, and Otto Rank; great existentialist thinkers, like Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre; and the teachings of Buddhism, especially as interpreted by Nagarjuna, Huineng, and Dogen.

Written in accessible style that does not assume prior familiarity with any of its subjects, this book will appeal to readers of all backgrounds, including psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, religious scholars, Continental philosophers, and anyone seeking clarity on the Great Matter itself.

The reader will come away with fresh perspectives on ancient questions and deeper insights into the human predilection to be unhappy--and what the liberating alternative may be.

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9781614295235
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Learning from the Germans

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As an increasingly polarized America fights over the legacy of racism, Susan Neiman, author of the contemporary philosophical classic Evil in Modern Thought, asks what we can learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past

In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Susan Neiman's Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights-era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories.

Through discussions with Germans, including Jan Philipp Reemtsma, who created the breakthrough Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibit, and Friedrich Schorlemmer, the East German dissident preacher, Neiman tells the story of the long and difficult path Germans faced in their effort to atone for the crimes of the Holocaust. In the United States, she interviews James Meredith about his battle for equality in Mississippi and Bryan Stevenson about his monument to the victims of lynching, as well as lesser-known social justice activists in the South, to provide a compelling picture of the work contemporary Americans are doing to confront our violent history. In clear and gripping prose, Neiman urges us to consider the nuanced forms that evil can assume, so that we can recognize and avoid them in the future.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780374184469
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Lies that Bind

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Who do you think you are? That's a question bound up in another: What do you think you are? Gender. Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Culture. Such affiliations give contours to our sense of self, and shape our polarized world. Yet the collective identities they spawn are riddled with contradictions, and cratered with falsehoods.

Kwame Anthony Appiah's The Lies That Bind is an incandescent exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us. It challenges our assumptions about how identities work. We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by conflict. Religion, he demonstrates, gains power because it isn't primarily about belief. Our everyday notions of race are the detritus of discarded nineteenth-century science. Our cherished concept of the sovereign nation--of self-rule--is incoherent and unstable. Class systems can become entrenched by efforts to reform them. Even the very idea of Western culture is a shimmering mirage.

From Anton Wilhelm Amo, the eighteenth-century African child who miraculously became an eminent European philosopher before retiring back to Africa, to Italo Svevo, the literary marvel who changed citizenship without leaving home, to Appiah's own father, Joseph, an anticolonial firebrand who was ready to give his life for a nation that did not yet exist, Appiah interweaves keen-edged argument with vibrant narratives to expose the myths behind our collective identities.

These "mistaken identities," Appiah explains, can fuel some of our worst atrocities--from chattel slavery to genocide. And yet, he argues that social identities aren't something we can simply do away with. They can usher in moral progress and bring significance to our lives by connecting the small scale of our daily existence with larger movements, causes, and concerns.

Elaborating a bold and clarifying new theory of identity, The Lies That Bind is a ringing philosophical statement for the anxious, conflict-ridden twenty-first century. This book will transform the way we think about who--and what--"we" are.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781631495977
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