How to Think Like a Philosopher: Scholars, Dreamers and Sages Who Can Teach Us How to Live
In showing how the great philosophers of human history lived and thought – and what they thought about – Peter Cave provides an accessible and enjoyable introduction to thinking philosophically and how it can change our everyday lives. With a lightness of touch, he addresses questions such as: Is there anything 'out there' that gives meaning to our lives? Does reality tell us how we ought to live? What indeed is reality and what is appearance – and how can we tell the difference?
This book paints vivid portraits of an assortment of inspiring thinkers: from Lao Tzu to Avicenna to Iris Murdoch; from Hannah Arendt to Socrates and Plato to Karl Marx; from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Sartre to Samuel Beckett – and let us not forget Lewis Carroll for some thought-provoking fantasies and Ludwig Wittgenstein for the anguishes of a genius. As well as displaying optimists and pessimists, believers and non-believers, the book displays relevance to current affairs, from free speech to abortion to the treatment of animals to our leaders' moral character.
In each brief chapter, Cave brings to life these often prescient, always compelling philosophical thinkers, showing how their ways of approaching the world grew out of their own lives and times and how we may make valuable use of their insights today. Now, more than ever, we need to understand how to live, and how to understand the world around us. This is the perfect guide.
Praise for How to Think Like a Philosopher: Scholars, Dreamers and Sages Who Can Teach Us How to Live
"A very enjoyable introduction into Western philosophy. Light, conversational, entertaining and intellectually stimulating." - Daily Philosopher
“This is an ideal guide to philosophical thinking; it does not try to reduce the views of those that it covers to bullet points, but instead engages with them in a thoughtful and witty way. Peter Cave is the perfect companion for a bright but leisurely walk through these labyrinths.” —Derek Matravers, Professor of Philosophy, The Open University, Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge
“Britain's wittiest philosopher.” —Raymond Tallis
“Here is an extraordinary philosophical journey taking us through a maze of thinkers. For all those seeking to understand the myriad modes of philosophical thinking-ancient and modern-this is the perfect introduction.” —Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Emeritus Professor of Judaism, University of Wales
“Peter Cave introduces the reader to thirty different thinkers. Not all are easily classified as academic philosophers: some are better thought of as sages or poets or playwrights. But each has something important to say about things that matter: rationality, science, sex, and duty, among other topics. Cave's approach is to introduce each thinker through their chosen questions. From Sappho to Wittgenstein, from Arendt to Spinoza, we are able to enter into a chosen figure's preoccupations and enjoyably think along. This is a much more effective and engaging approach than simple intellectual biography or summaries of key ideas. An absorbing and rewarding book.” —Tom Sorell, Professor of Politics and Philosophy, University of Warwick.
“Peter Cave introduces his top thirty thinkers with wit and clarity, and crams a surprising amount of judicious reflection into each of the short chapters.” —John Cottingham, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Reading
“Read this book. You may not learn to love like Sappho, cure like Avicenna, ponder like Spinoza, disguise yourself like Kierkegaard or rival any of the other fascinating eccentrics who fill the volume. But if you learn to think like Peter Cave – with freshness, humour, objectivity and penetration – you will have been amply rewarded.” —Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, University of Notre Dame, author of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It