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An urgent defense of reason, the essential method for resolving--or even discussing--divisive issues Reason, long held as the highest human achievement, is under siege. According to Aristotle, the capacity for reason sets us apart from other animals, yet today it has ceased to be a universally admired faculty. Rationality and reason have become political, disputed concepts, subject to easy dismissal. Julian Baggini argues eloquently that we must recover our reason and reassess its proper place, neither too highly exalted nor completely maligned. Rationality does not require a sterile, scientistic worldview, it simply involves the application of critical thinking wherever thinking is needed. Addressing such major areas of debate as religion, science, politics, psychology, and economics, the author calls for commitment to the notion of a "community of reason," where disagreements are settled by debate and discussion, not brute force or political power. Baggini's insightful book celebrates the power of reason, our best hope--indeed our only hope--for dealing with the intractable quagmires of our time.
Every day the news shows us provoking stories about what's going on in the world, about events which raise moral questions and problems. In Philosophers Take On the World a team of philosophers get to grips with a variety of these controversial issues, from the amusing to the shocking, in short, engaging, often controversial pieces. Covering topics from guns to abortion, the morality of drinking alone, hating a sports team, and being rude to cold callers, the essays will make you think again about the judgements we make on a daily basis and the ways in which we choose to conduct our lives. Philosophers Take On the World is based on the blog run by the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, one of the world's leading centres for applied ethics.
Can it ever be right to kill? Is terrorism ever justified? Should euthanasia be legal? Are some people superior to others? Do animals have rights? Some ethical judgements are easy: one side is wrong and the other is right. But how do we handle the really tough 'right vs right' dilemmas, where each side has strong moral arguments? In Without God, is Everything Permitted? bestselling author and philosopher Julian Baggini clear-sightedly and compassionately examines 20 of the most complex contemporary ethical dilemmas. Whether it's asking if torture is always wrong, or if discrimination can ever be good, this book will help you sort out what you really believe about the issues that matter most.
In this new edition of Foundations for Moral Relativism a distinguished moral philosopher tames a bugbear of current debate about cultural difference. J. David Velleman shows that different communities can indeed be subject to incompatible moralities, because their local mores are rationally binding. At the same time, he explains why the mores of different communities, even when incompatible, are still variations on the same moral themes. The book thus maps out a universe of many moral worlds without, as Velleman puts it, "moral black holes”. The six self-standing chapters discuss such diverse topics as online avatars and virtual worlds, lying in Russian and truth-telling in Quechua, the pleasure of solitude and the fear of absurdity. Accessibly written, this book presupposes no prior training in philosophy.
Peter Cave’s bestselling trio of humorous philosophy titles – What’s Wrong With Eating People?, Can a Robot be Human?, and Do Llamas Fall in Love? – brought together in one big book. What makes me, me – and you, you? What is this thing called ‘love’? Does life have a point? Is ‘no’ the right answer to this question? Philosophy transports us from the wonderful to the weird, from the funny to the very serious indeed. With the aid of tall stories, jokes, fascinating insights and common sense, Peter Cave offers a comprehensive survey of all areas of philosophy, addressing the big puzzles in ethics and politics, metaphysics and knowledge, religion and the emotions, aesthetics and logic. Replete with a smorgasbord of amusing and mind-boggling examples, The Big Think Book is perfect for anyone who delights in life’s conundrums.
Do we have free will? It's a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries, remains one of the most intractable, and feeds into numerous smaller social, political and personal concerns. Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? Are our neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehensive, intentional psychological change always open to us? What role does our brain play in the construction of free will, and how much medical evidence is there for the existence of it? What exactly are we talking about when we talk about 'freedom' anyway?In this cogent and compelling book, Julian Baggini explores the concept of 'free will' from every angle, blending philosophy, neuroscience, sociology and cognitive science. Freedom Regained brings the issues raised by the possibilities - and denials - of free to vivid life, drawing on scientific research and fascinating encounters with expert witnesses, from artists to addicts. It will provide a new understanding of our sense of personal freedom - and change the way the reader will think about their own choices.

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