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Cohen, Martin
Philosophical Tales

1. Edition April 2008
25.90 Euro
2008. 296 Pages, Softcover
- Textbook -
ISBN 978-1-4051-4037-9 - John Wiley & Sons

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Short description
Did Plato really write those Socratic Dialogues - or was it Socrates after all? Why is it doubtful that Descartes ever really uttered, "I think, therefore I am"? And what did Sartre ever have against waiters, anyway? The history of philosophy is filled with great tales - many of them fictions, misrepresentations, falsehoods, lies and fibs. Or are they just misstatements, prevarications, and narratives not entirely based on fact? In the true spirit of a broad philosophical debate, Philosophical Tales dips a toe into the great sea of philosophy to collect, deconstruct, and relate many of history's great - and not so great - philosophical tales.

Enlightening and entertaining, Philosophical Tales examines a few of the fascinating biographical details of history's greatest philosophers (alas, mostly men) and highlights their contributions to the field. By applying the true philosophical approach to philosophy itself, the text provides us with a refreshing "alternative history" of philosophy.

But why should someone want to know that Kant rolled himself three times in his sheets each night before sleeping, that Schopenhauer pushed a poor old lady down the stairs, or Marx spent as much time on beer and women as he did in the British Library? By examining the seeming trivialities of philosophers' lives - and skewering a few cherished myths along the way - Philosophical Tales provides us with illuminating insights that will encourage a more active, critical way of thinking. Blaise Pascal may have put it best when he said, "To make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher."

From the contents

How to Use this Book.

[List of illustrations/ About the Pictures].

The Tales.

The Ancients.

1. Socrates the Sorcerer (469 BC E).

2. The Different Forms of Plato ( circa 427-347 BCE).

3. Aristotle the Aristocrat (384 - circa 322 BCE).

More Ancients.

4. Lao Tzu Changes into Nothing (sixth to fifth century BCE).

5. Heraclitus: the dark side of the river (c. fifth century BCE).

6. Pythagoras Counts Up to Ten (c570-495 BCE).

7. Hypatia, holds up half of the sky (circa 370-415 CE).

Medieval Philosophy.

7. Augustine the Hippocrite (354 - 430 C.E.).

8. Thomas Aquinas disputes the Existence of God ( 1225-74).

Modern Philosophy.

9. Descartes the Dilettante and More Des Cartes (1596-1650).

10. Hobbes Squares the Circle (1588-1679).

11. Spinoza grinds himself away... (1632-1677) Enlightened Philosophy.

12. John Locke invents the Slave Trade (1632-1704).

13. The Many Faces of David Hume 1711-1776.

14. Rousseau the Rogue (1712-78).

15. Kant, The Chinaman of Königsburg (and his rule-bound existence) (1724-1804).

The Idealists.

16. Gottfried Leibniz - the thinking machine (1646-1716).

17. Bishop Berkeley's Bermuda College (1685-1753).

18. Headmaster Hegel - and the dangerous lesson of history (1770-1831).

19. Arthur Schopenhauer and his Landlady (1788-1860).

The Romantics.

20. The Seduction of Søren Kierkegaard (1813- circa 1853).

21. Mill's Poetical Turn (1806-73).

22. Henry Thoreau and Life in the Shed (1817-1862).

23. Marx's revolutionary materialism (1818-83).

Recent Philosophy.

24. Russell denotes Domething (1872-1970).

25. The Ripping Yarn of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).

26. Heidegger's Tale (and the Nazis) (1889-1976).

27. Sapir-Whorf and the colour Pinker (c.1900-1950).

28. Being Sartre and not definitely not being de Beauvoir (1905-80 and not 1908-86).

29. Deconstructing Derrida (1930-2005).

30. Appendix : Women in Philosophy, and Why There Aren't Many.

Sources and Further Reading



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