If you like Terry Pratchett then you will probably get a lot out of this book. If you also like philosophy then it’s an absolute shoo-in.
I have read a few of Terry Pratchett’ novels and enjoyed them all immensely. The humour, the characters, the gentle yet insightful parody. He deals with some fairly weighty subjects, but since they’re transferred to a fantasy setting the topics become less fraught and easier to discuss. Philosophy & Terry Pratchett brings these topics out and shows the philosophical underpinnings of the stories and plots.
This is quite a well-argued and eminently reasonable defence of atheism. It’s much more measured and even-handed than the likes of Christopher Hitchens or even Richard Dawkins. It may still be preaching to the choir, but at least it’s a much nicer choir.
Reality+ is a compendium of half-baked speculation: part science fiction, part wishful techno-utopianism. The whole book is based on one very contentious, if not indefensible, premise: that it is possible for a simulated consciousness to actually be conscious.
The Trolley Problem is a famous ethical dilemma asking whether we should cause something bad to happen in order to prevent something worse. If a runaway trolley is about to run over 5 people, is it morally right to divert it to another track where it will kill only one person? Lots has been written on the trolley problem, including many books. And now there is also a computer game featuring this and many other classic ethical problems.
This is an excellent and wide-ranging description of the genesis of existentialism. It includes descriptions of all the major figures you have heard of, like Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus, and further back to the likes of Heidegger and Nietzsche and many many more. After reading this I feel I have a much better idea of these people as people, rather than abstract ideas or buzzwords. Although mostly, I would rather just know their ideas since it seems they weren’t all the nicest people. It’s interesting to read about the long and fraught relationships that (maybe) helped shape their thought.
This is a dizzying whirlwind tour of Marxism, feminism, postmodernism, and so many other isms, theorists, philosophers and various thinkers. It can’t do much more than give the briefest summaries of these ideas, but it does help to see how they fit together historically. Sadly there is nothing on critical race theory, which seems to have become a thing recently. Still there is a lot to chew on and a lot of launching points for further reading, if only I had a spare decade or so.
In 1962, a short philosophy paper caused a little flurry in philosophical circles. Two decades later David Foster Wallace, armed with further developments in analysis, created an elaborate system of notation to solve the problem raised in the paper. This book contains Richard Taylor’s original paper, the resultant flurry, and Wallace’s solution. It also contains a fair amount of background information about the whole exchange.