'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 3 July 2010

Review: Philosophy for Beginners

Title: Philosophy for Beginners

Author: Max Charlesworth

Publisher: University of Queensland Press, $22.95 RRP

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780702236068

For ages: Teenage, young adult

Type: Non-fiction

About: How much do you think? How much do you know about the great thinkers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle? What do you think?

Beginning with introductory chapters discussing the basic questions, what is philosophy? and what is a philosopher? we then move on to what I call the good bits.

The real questions begin with things and time – ‘why should there be anything rather than nothing?’ – followed by what we know and how we know it, dealing with concepts such as self deception and questions like, ‘Can I ever really know what another person is thinking or feeling?’

Next, we look at bodies and minds, the connections between the two, and then good versus bad. Values, religion, consequences and happiness are covered, with the age-old question, ‘What should I do?’ taking a focus.

This book tells us we are all philosophers, we all have the ability to think deeply, and that philosophy can answer many questions in our lives. We need to think creatively in our search for answers about ourselves, each other and life.

I remember my first introduction to formal philosophy, in a class in early high school. I was amazed at this way of looking at the world, at the questions all around us and the history of philosophy; the people who changed the world with their minds.

Reading a book like Philosophy for Beginners is an eye-opener for any teenager or adult, providing the key to an open mind.

If you agree with Socrates when he said, ‘A life without thinking is not worth living’, then this is the book for you.

This book is available online